Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How often do you text?

I read this story and all I could think was, "There was no Internet and no cell phones when I was in high school!" I am seriously getting old. But on a more important note, I do think texting addition can become a problem. Sometimes I do let it get out of hand and I end up texting for two hours here and there when it could have been a 5 minute conversation! Although there are some negatives for teens who text, there may also be a positive. If texting is giving kids a "high" they would normally get from drugs or alcohol, maybe they will do fewer drugs. It's probably just wishful thinking. Do you text? How often?

From CNN:
Just watching a teenager text can make your thumbs hurt. The average high schooler seems to be practically glued to their cell phone at all times. But doctors say the texting behavior is actually addictive, complete with withdrawal symptoms! On your mark, get set, go! How fast can your average 15 year old text a single line? lets just say, faster than someone not in high school. "Mine's not even English!" For tenth graders Sara Matzkin, Sarah Marshall and april Polubiec, texting may be as important as talking.

How many texts do you send and receive every day?
"Probably around 200." "Definitely a lot. Couple Hundred." "It varies." Varies, studies show, to the tune of well over 3,000 texts a month for the average teenager. The question now: are teens texting too much? "It's right by my bed when I go to sleep. And it's right by my bed when I wake up. So it's like the first thing I go to."

Eighty percent of all kids own a cell phone, and the rate of texting has skyrocketd 600% in three years. Why is it so important for you to know when somebody's trying to reach you?
"You feel like you're missing something. If someone like texts me and I miss it, I feel like, "oh, I missed out on the moment."

Do you sometimes feel your moods changing depending on how often you're receiving the texts or the speed? "Yeah." Like what? Give me some examples. "Well, if someone responds right away, you're like, "Yay! They responded." If someone responds two to three hours later you're like, "what's going on?" Sound addictive? Well, could be. Doctors say texting and the instant gratification of getting a text back floods the brain's pleasure center with the mood enhancing dopamine. Neuro-imaging studies have shown that those kids who are texting have that area of the brain light up the same as an addict using heroin.

And they will actually describe, when I don't have it I feel bad. I feel anxious or I feel sad.
So it's like the new nicotine? "That's a good description, yeah. And for many, it may well be."

Brain doctor Michael Seyffert treats teens with sleeping disorders at this New Jersey Sleep Clinic and has discovered that one out of five of them are interrupting their sleep to text, triggering problems. With a lack of sleep, they are having a problem performing. They're going from A or honor roll students to barely passing.
That's the worst case. These teens on the other hand get good grades and take part in after-school activities, though texting does sometimes get them in trouble.

When was the last time you had your phones taken away? "Yesterday." "Today." Today? So basically within the last 24 hours you each had your phone taken away from you? "Yes, yes."

Their school, like many, struggling to contain a growing distraction for students. Most administrators will tell you that, if it's not their single greatest problem, in terms of discipline and school management, it's at least in the top three.

Despite the potential downsides, these parents say texting has become a necessary evil. "They don't answer the phone. It's the only way to get a hold of them!"
They will answer a text. "They don't do email, at all. They won't email." "Forget about email. It's gone, it's over." The only way to get a hold of them is to text. "I had to actually get text messaging in order to communicate with my kids."

Sometimes they'll only communicate that way.
And while the behavior can be addictive, teens like Sarah Marshall say, they're confident they can quit cold turkey. "Maybe I'd have some withdrawal symptons. Like I'd get anxious and wonder what's going on. But once I realized nothing bad is happening, it's fine without my phone."

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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