BEHAVIOR
October 12, 2015

Compulsive Texting Interferes With Academic Achievement

Do you have a child who can't stop texting? Chances are, it's a ...

Teens do a lot of texting. One survey found that a typical teen sends and receives about 60 texts a day, but those who text the most send and receive substantially more. In fact, they raised the average (mean) number of daily texts exchanged by teens in the survey to 167.

Parents wondering if a son or daughter's texting is out of control should know that compulsive texting is not just about how many texts a teen sends. It is a pattern of behavior that affects a person's daily life.

Some signs a teen may be texting compulsively: skipping normal activities such as chores in order to text, lying to others to cover up just how much they have been texting, and frequently using the ever-popular mantra, “just a few more minutes,” which somehow ends up becoming a much longer time period.

Using a questionnaire based on a study of compulsive gambling, researchers measured the texting behavior, including compulsive texting, of 403 students from schools located in a semi-rural Midwestern town. The students also completed a second questionnaire that focused on their academic performance and how well-adjusted they were in school.

Boys tend to use Internet communication to convey information, while girls tend to use it for social interaction.

Compulsive texting seems only to affect girls' academic performance negatively. Even when girls and boys sent about the same number of texts each day (8), girls reported more compulsive texting than boys did.

Boys tend to use Internet communication to convey information, while girls tend to use it for social interaction and to nurture relationships. This may be why girls are more likely to become compulsive about sending and responding to texts, and why girls' texts may be more distracting than boys' texts and more likely to interfere with school and schoolwork.

The study appears in Psychology of Popular Media Culture.

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