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Teens Texting Hurts Sleep, Maturity

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 11:10 AM EST
Category: On The Road, Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Teen Health, Teen Texting, Anxiety, Obsessive and Compulsive Disorder, Teen Drivers

Teens texting can harm attention levels and maturity, experts say.

Teens and Texting



IMAGE SOURCE:© iStockphoto/ teen texting/ roundhill


InjuryBoard News has reported on the problems of texting and the attention it takes from driving.  Now some new studies add to the concern that extreme texting by teens may be harming their development. 

More than 2,000 text messages sent by the average teenager per month, according to the Nielsen Company, are leading to sleep deprivation, anxiety, and stunted maturation. 

The New York Times talks to a psychologist at MIT, Sherry Turkle, whose study of texting finds it is keeping teens tethered to their parents in an unhealthy way.  “Among the jobs of adolescence are to separate from your parents, and to find the peace and quiet to become the person you decide you want to be. Texting hits directly at both those jobs” she tells the Times. 

Teens can routinely check in with their parents about important and not so important decisions they normally would make on their own as part of growing up, she says.

An average of 80 messages a day disrupts peace and quiet and solitude. 

Texting may be overwhelming for the young says Michael Hausauer, a psychotherapist in Oakland, California.  While it makes them feel connected, it also can create “terrific anxiety about being out of the loop” he says. 

Then there are the physical implications such as painful cramping in her thumps which can indicate musculoskeletal disorders and temporary or permanent damage to the thumbs. 

The American Journal of Psychiatry reports that excessive gaming, or virtual sex, e-mail and texting may be part of a compulsive-impulsive spectrum disorder and a form of addiction.

Four symptoms tell you if you have a problem:

·      Excessive use of the computer or of texting to the extent that you lose track of time or neglect eating and sleeping

·      Feelings of withdrawal when your computer is not nearby that lead to anger, tension and depression

·      A constant need for more time with your computer and to upgrade your equipment

·      Experiencing a negative repercussion of the addiction such as ignoring others, fatigue, poor achievement, lying and getting into arguments

Teachers report that texting is rampant, even in class, and most parents are unaware of the absence of boundaries shown by teens with unlimited texting plans.   

An estimated 20 percent of drivers are texting while behind the wheel, according to a Nationwide Insurance study.   Among young people, between the ages of 18 to 24, that number skyrockets to 66 percent. 

One Solution

After one parent noted 14,528 texts in one month, and poor grades, parents of 13-year-old Reina Hardesty confiscated the phone and limited her texting to 5,000 per month with the window between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. blacked out on weekdays.   

What is your solution to Teen Texting?   # 

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