Teens don’t pick up the phone and call anyone anymore. It would be seen as totally uncool. At the same time, teens want to have a connection with one another. Best friends might hang out online on Facebook together. They may not exchange any messages, but knowing that they are both there and virtually present means a lot to them.
And the same is true with texting. When a teen is texting, it’s their way of talking on the phone. And most parents today remember just how much time they used to spend talking to their friends when they were teens – hours!
If your teen is texting a lot, it’s really not much of a problem. However, as you’re already aware, you have to put some boundaries on their texting. If texting is getting in the way of your teen’s ability to complete homework, chores, and other responsibilities, then it may be an issue.
Also, some parents and teacher are seeing that texting can get in the way of learning and may even affect a teen’s mental health. Here are a list of dangers that some adults are seeing as a result of too much texting:
- Texting can disrupt the learning process.
- Texting can contribute to poor sleeping habits. Too much texting late at night and the glare of the phone can affect a teen’s ability to fall asleep.
- Texting can erode self-confidence. Texting allows teens to hide behind their phones and write things they might not otherwise say to others.
- Texting can lead to sexting. This is a form of texting that includes sexual content. Texting can undermine safe driving.
- Texting can be addictive.
Furthermore, too much texting has also been a concern for doctors and psychologists. These professionals believe that the excessive texting may cause a shift in the way teens develop. There’s a constant disruption in a teen’s attention from the task at hand, whatever that might be, to a text, back to his or her current activity, and back to the phone again. There’s very little ability to stay focused. For a teen who is already vulnerable to ADHD, depression, and other mental illnesses, texting may become problematic.
For these reasons and more, parents might want to put limits on the amount of texting their teen does daily. They may also want to limit the use of technology in general. Here are some ways that a parent might establish in their teen a healthier relationship with technology:
- talk to your teen about the dangers of using too much technology
- set clear boundaries about the use of technology and texting (such as no texting while in class or after 9pm)
- monitor your teen’s texting
- stay involved in your teen’s life
- know who your teen is spending time with
In fact, parents will need to balance the positive and negative effects of texting on a teen. Yes, teens can get their need for healthy social interaction met through texting. At the same time, as discussed above, there are some dangers to too much texting. Setting limits will be important to keep your teen emotionally and psychologically safe.