Text alert: Study has shown link between text messaging, lower school grades and mental health damage.
A study of more than 400 year eight and 11 children found that many teenage texters behave like compulsive gamblers.
Are you anxious about your teenager’s compulsive texting? Well, you’re right to worry. Youngsters who keep checking their phones could have a problem.
The trouble is teens use text messaging and social media apps more than any other way to stay in touch. But a new study says youngsters who check their phones continually skip sleep, fail to do homework and may be compulsive texters. And acting this way is linked to lower academic achievement, especially in girls.
A study of more than 400 year eight and 11 children found that many teenage texters behave like compulsive gamblers. They lose sleep because of messaging, they can’t stop doing it and they lie about the amount of time they spend sending messages.
For them the phone itself causes great anxiety because of the need to check it all the time. Panic sets in when it can’t be found. Girls text compulsively at a much higher rate than boys. And unlike girls, boys who are compulsive texters aren’t at risk of poor performance.
The study, published online in US journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture, confirms the link between the excessive use of social media and lower school grades. The 2014 survey found the more time black and Hispanic teenagers spent on Facebook, the worse their marks in maths became.
Students who text while doing homework have lower grades. Those who text during class take less detailed notes and remember less information.
Studies have also linked high numbers of texts to sleep problems, possibly because teenagers wake up when they get a message. The US report noted that three-quarters of teenagers own a mobile phone and six out of 10 text every day. That’s more than they talk on the phone, meet with friends or email. The average number of texts sent by teens is 60 a day, with older girls sending around 100 text messages a day and boys about 50.
One issue is that texting encourages a short attention span so it’s no surprise it causes problems in school where hour-long concentration is required in class.
The latest UK report from the Office of National Statistics says depression, anxiety and other mental-health problems are more common in 10 to 15-year-olds who spend much of their time on social media.
This immersion in an imaginary world is damaging to the way youngsters see themselves and the way they perceive the real world.
The internet is full of false information and teenagers take it as gospel.
Then there’s the fact that social networks aren’t that social. If no one answers, a teen can feel like an outcast.
The case for monitoring your teen's phone use is very strong indeed.