If your teen has her own cell phone, you can bet she's using it to text with her friends. Texting is one of the main ways that many teens converse with each other. While this mode of communication comes in handy at times, it isn't entirely good. Texting can cause problems with school, so keeping careful track of your teen's habits and helping her make changes as needed will help her get as much out of school as possible without compromising her social life.
When teens take their cell phones to bed, they may be woken up several times by incoming text messages. Whether or not your teen replies has no bearing on the fact that the texts are interfering with his sleep, which can cause problems during the day. Texting at night alters healthy sleep patterns and sets your teen up for fatigue the following day, reports the Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine. This can make it hard to learn, comprehend and remember classroom material, which can result in trouble with homework and slipping grades. Have your teen charge his phone overnight, but outside his bedroom where an incoming text won't wake him up.
Disruption at School
Even if your teen isn't texting during class, others who are can disrupt her concentration as she tries to learn. Hearing the ping of a text message, even if it's another teen's, temporarily distracts her from what's being taught, notes the National School Safety and Security Services website. If this happens on a regular basis, she might miss something imperative to the lesson, which can make future lessons more difficult. Many high schools have rules regarding the use of cell phones, but talk to administration about having students silence their incoming texts if your teen reports trouble concentrating due to text message signals in class and encourage her to leave her own phone in her locker during class.
Texting, for some teens, is an easy way to relay the answers to tests back and forth, ensuring that passing grades are achieved regardless of study time or comprehension of the material. Teens with cameras on their phones might take a picture of an important exam and text it to a friend who wants to find all the answers without having to study. Even if your teen isn't cheating with his phone, he might be peer pressured to do so, which can cause tension and a change to the school environment, according to the National School Safety and Security Services website. This can translate to distraction, which in turn can also lead to slipping grades and resistance to going to class.
Distraction and Procrastination
You probably know how difficult it is to get anything done when you keep getting interrupted. The same holds true for teens. If your teen is trying to do his homework, but his friends keep texting him, he's being repeatedly distracted. This can prevent your teen from fully understanding the material and it's likely to take him much longer than usual to complete a task. Some teens, when faced with this issue, may put off important homework assignments, which may never get done or may be done half heartedly, resulting in a lower than average grade. Have your teen stow his cell phone while he does his homework so he can get it finished and remember what he learned afterward.
- The Child Study Center: Anti-Social Networking: How Do Texting and Social Media Affect Our Children
- The New York Times: Texting May Be Taking a Toll
- National School Safety and Security Services: Cell Phones and Text Messaging in Schools
- MayoClinic.com: Teen Texting: Help Your Teen Avoid the Risks
- Harvard Medical School: Boston Globe: "On Call All Night Can Leave Texting Teens Tired Out"