Today’s teens and tweens are connected to one another as never before. they carry their phones in their pockets, allowing them instant access to dozens of friends and classmates, often to the point that they no longer even notice the world around them while their heads are buried in their phones. Compulsive texting is causing a rash of problems for these young people–problems that encompass physical, mental, and social.
Texting is now the most common form of communication for many teens and tweens. Unfortunately, this means that they’re failing to learn vital face-to-face communication skills. Students who interact only with one another and only through text don’t have the conversation skills that they would acquire through interaction with teachers or face-to-face conversations with their peers. Texting also has a negative impact on writing skills, preventing students from writing the types of high-quality essays that are so crucial for college admission.
Teens and tweens will ignore everything else going on around them in favor of their phones. In fact, the behavior is so extreme that it has been likened to compulsive gambling. Teenagers who text compulsively may lose sleep due to texting. They might have problems cutting back on the amount of time they spend with their phones in their hands, lie about the amount of time they’ve actually spent texting, and text late into the night in spite of an actual desire to sleep. Compulsive texting isn’t just about the actual communication with peers. It’s about the feelings associated with it. If your teenager experiences feelings of anxiety when separated from their phone or can’t even make it through a family dinner without picking up the phone, it’s a good sign that they have a compulsive texting problem.
Group texts get everyone over excited and last until all hours of the night. When kids engage in group texts, they never seem to end. Everyone has something to say, even if it’s just a few characters in reaction to someone else’s comment, and the buzzing of the phone will have your teen or tween reaching compulsively for their pocket–or having trouble putting the phone down in the first place. Group texts are even more likely to disrupt sleep because there’s no way to leave one and others may continue to engage in conversation long past the time when your child is ready to head to bed.
“Text neck” and “text hand” are becoming very real physical problems. Students who spend too much time craning their heads down to look at a phone screen may experience stiff necks, hunched shoulders, or even over time develop difficulty looking up straight. Their hands and wrists suffer from the unnatural position, especially the excessive thumb movement associated with texting. The only remedy for these problems is taking frequent breaks and walking away from the phone–and compulsive “texters” might not be able to do it.
Schoolwork and homework are suffering. In some cases, students are texting instead of paying attention in class. While this wouldn’t seem to be that different from the note-passing that’s taken place for generations, texting sucks students in and causes a much higher level distraction. On average, it’s been estimated that students manage to study or focus on homework for only around six minutes before being distracted by texting or social media accounts. Six minutes isn’t nearly enough time to focus fully on a homework assignment–but that’s all students are able to give it before easy access to their friends takes over.
Compulsive texting is creating increasingly more problems for many of today’s teens and tweens. As parents we are ultimately the ones responsible for teaching our children how to lead healthy and balanced lives! Setting an example with our texting and tech use is always the first way to approach the problem. Even when we think that they are not listening they are always watching how we lead our lives. Additionally, it is always easier to help your tweens and teens maintain balance in their lives with mobile devices when you use a parental control software.
NetSanity has a suite of services their Timeblocker scheduler, can be used regularly to ensure that kids enjoy other activities or spend time finishing homework. If your tweens have an Apple or Android mobile device, Netsanity has a feature for their current customers called Screenlock. It can be used on a regular basis to completely block your teen from using their mobile device for texting whenever you feel that they need a healthy break, sleep, or to ensure they are focusing on their homework. They have a free trial so it’s worth checking out. Overall, balance in life will always help your tweens and teens lead a healthy and happy life!
Netsanity was made by parents for parents. With easy to use software designed to give control and sanity back to parents, Netsanity enables a safer and healthier mobile experience for kids. See for yourself with a free trial!
Netsanity is available for both Apple and Android devices.