Parents Key to Cutting Down Youth Texting

May 28, 2009 by Rico Mossesgeld  
Filed under Cellphones

A growing number of psychiatrists and doctors are worrying about the effects of constant texting on the youth, according to The New York Times:

[they] say it is leading to anxiety, distraction in school, falling grades, repetitive stress injury and sleep deprivation.

Dr. Martin Joffe, a pediatrician in Greenbrae, Calif., recently surveyed students at two local high schools and said he found that many were routinely sending hundreds of texts every day.

Personally, I disagree. Obviously, there are some bad cases like that of Reina Hardesty. The article featured her one-month of 14,523 texts, and related her academic problems caused by an actual increase in her SMS volume. But I think she’s an exception. Texting per se isn’t bad for anyone—including the young ‘uns.

All I’m saying that, if parents and other authority figures want children to cut down on their texting, they should set a good example. The end of the article hits it right on the button, featuring Reina complaining about her parents’ hypocritical control of her cell phone usage.

“She should understand a little better, because she’s always on her iPhone, ” Reina said. “But she’s all like, ‘Oh well, I don’t want you texting.’ ” (Her mother, Manako Ihaya, said she saw Reina’s point.) Professor Turkle can sympathize. “Teens feel they are being punished for behavior in which their parents indulge.” she said. And in what she calls a poignant twist, teenagers still need their parents’ undivided attention.

“Even though they text 3,500 messages a week, when they walk out of their ballet lesson, they’re upset to see their dad in the car on the BlackBerry,” she said. “The fantasy of every adolescent is that the parent is there, waiting, expectant, completely there for them.”


(Image courtesy of OC Weekly)

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