Chances are that sometime in the last 24 hours you have watched your teen stop whatever they’re doing, whip out their phone to read and fire back a fast and furious text message, then snap the phone shut and get back to work. But how well can they really work on a task when they’re constantly stopping to send and receive texts?
It’s no surprise that for teens, texting is the most popular way to use cell phones. June data from the Pew Internet Research Forum reports that 88% of teens use their phones for texting, and that the typical teen sends 50 texts per day. What about the really prolific texters? 31% report sending over 100 per day, and 14% say they send over 200 per day – that’s more than 6,000 texts a month!
(It’s somewhat of a relief, then, that the study also found the majority of teens – 75% – have an unlimited texting plan.)
But I’m a little concerned about all the multi-tasking kids are trying to do. Have you ever tried to interact with your teen while they’re simultaneously texting? They seem to have trouble returning to the present, even after the phone is safely back in their pocket.
Texting in school also worries me. I’ve watched more than a few teenagers merrily thumb-type their way through many a Sunday School lesson at the church I attend, and I imagine that the behavior carries over into weekday class time use as well.
Statistics from the Pew Internet Research Forum say that 48% of teens report having their phone turned on in school every day. 31% send or receive at least one text during class ‘every day,’ and if you add those who answered ‘at least once a day’ or ‘several times a week’ that number jumps to 50%. (Ironically, kids in schools that ban cell phones report texting the most during class.)
So if your teen is having trouble focusing, understanding concepts discussed in class, or completing homework in a reasonable amount of time, try “borrowing” their cell phone next time they go to school or sit down to do homework. The results might surprise you.