Texting is an extremely common form of communication, as over 171 billion texts are sent each month in the United States alone. The average American teen sends and receives nearly 80 texts per day, according to statistics from the Nielsen Company published in the the New York Times, which means that text communication occurs every few minutes throughout the day. Although texting makes it easy to communicate with others, it does have other effects, of which parents should be aware.
Texting and Driving
Perhaps the main issue with texting occurs when it is done while driving, as 1.3 million crashes per year involve cellphone use. About 13 percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 who were involved in a car accident admit to using a cellphone while the crash took place. In addition, 21 percent of fatalities in teens between the ages of 16 and 19 occurred because the driver was texting, reports the Psychology Today website. Teens have a need to stay in constant communication through texting, even when they are behind the wheel of an automobile.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
When too much stress is placed on one part of the body, it could lead to a repetitive stress injury. This injury results in swelling or tissue damage, depending on the severity. Although these injuries are normally associated with playing sports, an increasing number of teens is suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis because of excessive texting. To prevent these injuries, child development experts with the Teens Health website recommend that teens take a break every 30 minutes, which can prevent overuse of the finger and thumb muscles.
Texting before bed can reduce the amount of sleep that a teen gets, especially if the texts before bed are of a serious nature. Some teens feel anxiety if they do not know what is going on within their social circle, even in the middle of the night. When a teen texts too late into the night, it can make it more difficult to fall asleep and can lead to poor sleep quality, according to the Mayo Clinic website.
Developmental problems could arise because of excessive texting in teens. The teenage years are a time when a child begins to separate from his parents to go off on his own. With texting, however, the teen remains in constant communication with other people, including his parents. In addition, since texts are sent so frequently, there is little time for the teen to finish a thought on his own. Teens no longer have any peace and quiet, as there is always someone texting throughout the day, suggests an article in the New York Times.
- CTIA - The Wireless Association: Wireless Quick Facts
- The New York Times: Texting May Be Taking a Toll
- TextingandDrivingSafety.com: DWI - Driving While Intexticated
- Psychology Today: Texting and Driving - A Deadly Decision
- Teens Health: Repetitive Stress Injuries
- Mayo Clinic: Teen Texting - Help Your Teen Avoid the Risks
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images