Can Texting Be Damaging for Teens?

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Can Texting Be Damaging for Teens?

Now, you have to qualify this by stating that I am still learning how to give a good interview. This was a live interview, and so it was challenging and something at which I was not trained in graduate school. So, with some practice, I know I'll get better at giving a polished interview.

So, on to the question as to whether texting can be problematic for teens. Like practically any behavior that we can think of, texting, in moderation, is generally harmless. However, certainly texting can be problematic for some teens. Most teens text around 50 messages per day. This might sound like a lot, but most of these messages are very short and can be entered within a few seconds. However, some teens text several hundred messages per day on average. A few of my teen clients (and their frustrated parents) have informed my of such numbers. There was a recent report on NPR that a teen girl texted over 14,000 messages in one month alone!

So, when is texting a problem? The litmus test as to whether a certain behavior represents an addiction or a problem is whether it significantly impairs a person's performance in a major life domain, such as social relationships, work, or school. For some teens, text messaging is a real addiction and causes such problems. Some teens feel that they must always read and answer a text immediately. This is where the addictive part comes in. Another major problem that I see is that teens are texting well into the night (or morning). Even on school nights, the cell will be left by their bedside and an incoming texts will be read and answered quickly - even if sleep deprivation is a result. Sleep deprivation is a well-known cause of impaired memory, concentration, processing speed, reasoning, and mood.

Another problem that I often see is that a teen's in-person communications suffer because their conversations are repeatedly disrupted by incoming texts that they read and answer. If you've ever been on...
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