Texting is an increasingly popular form of communication, as the average teenager sends and receives about 4,000 messages per month, reports the Nielsen Company. In addition, nearly 80 percent of teens would rather send a text than make a phone call. Many teens note that texting is faster and easier than calling someone on the phone, although it should be noted that it does have some disadvantages as well.
Not Aware of Surroundings
Sending or reading a text while walking might seem harmless, but the human brain struggles when multitasking in this manner. As a result, many people are hurt every year because they are texting, rather than paying attention to where they are going, report child development experts at the Teens Health website. A woman in San Francisco was even killed when she walked into the path of a vehicle. Texting while driving is particularly dangerous, as the Federal Communications Commission website suggests that it increases the chance of being in an accident by 23 times. In addition, 11 percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 who were involved in accidents admitted to texting when the accident occurred.
Constant texting adds to a teen's levels of anxiety and stress, which can hinder his ability to sleep. One reason for this stress is that teens feel pressure to be in communication 24 hours per day. Therefore, they disrupt their sleep patterns to respond to text messages immediately, even in the middle of the night. Excessive cell phone use not only changes the teen's sleep/wake patterns, but can also cause cognitive and attention problems if it continues.
Promotes Poor Writing
Text messaging has its own language, as the purpose is to make a point with as little typing as possible. The problem is that although teens know that writing this way is not grammatically correct, it can make its way into their academic writing. It is possible that those who text frequently end up with weaker writing skills than those who do not, reports a 2012 study found in the News Media & Society journal. The study also notes that while text message word adaptations can lower grammar scores, structural adaptations have little effect.
Hinders Communication and Etiquette
When making a phone call, teens are bound by social limitations, such as only calling friends at an appropriate time. With text messaging, however, these boundaries are eliminated. Teens will now text each other in class and in the middle of the night, which disregards much of this social etiquette. Since teens do not have to worry about speaking with another person directly, they feel as though they can text at any time. Teens could also see their communication skills dwindle, since they are so used to communicating via text, rather than speaking with someone, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' HealthyChildren.org.
- Nielsen: U.S. Teen Mobile Report Calling Yesterday, Texting Today, Using Apps Tomorrow
- TeensHealth: Texting on the Move
- Federal Communications Commission: The Dangers of Texting While Driving
- News-Medical.net: Teens Stressed and Sleepless Because of Mobile Phones
- New Media & Society: Texting, Techspeak, and Tweens: The Relationship between Text Messaging and English Grammar Skills
- HealthyChildren.org: How to Talk to Your Kids Using Technology