Teen Texting: An Addiction

I brought this article back to the top because we have some exciting news on this subject that we can hopfully share in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned. 

Kids say they just can’t help it: They pretty much text all day long —while driving, eating and based on the number of messages being sent, you could argue that even while sleeping.

Has texting become the new way of communicating or has it evolved into an addiction?  Let me put it this way, texters often can’t recall what is going on in their surroundings because they were so involved in looking down at their phones.  It is just a part of their culture and lifestyle.  Many teens have actually openly expressed that it is hard not to text.  Socializing with friends is a natural part of growing up. But some psychiatrists and health care professionals are now saying that it is quickly becoming unhealthy, and in some cases even dangerous.

Amanda Lenhart, a senior researcher at the Pew Internet and American Life Project, surveyed 800 pairs of teens and parents, and organized focus groups with children in four different cities. During the focus groups, she says she was amazed to discover the teens were secretly texting under the tables as they talked with researchers.

When researchers asked if teens ever turned their phones off, the majority looked at the interviewers in “horror,” says Lenhart. She says the kids said they might put their phone on silent or vibrate — but off? Highly unlikely.  Many said they kept the phone under their pillow so it was quieter during the night. But others said they kept it under the pillow so they would hear or feel it, and be able to answer or text in the middle of the night.

“They would never actually want to cut themselves off from that network of communication that the phone represented,” says Lenhart, who adds that the teens even slept with their phones. Lenhart conducted the survey of 74 teenagers in nine different focus groups in four cities nationwide.

On average teens text about 50 times a day. About one-third send 100 texts a day. And 15 percent reported sending more than 200 texts a day. One-in-4, or 26 percent, admitted texting while driving.

On paper, mobile is a great channel for reaching teens. Almost all teens in the U.S. have, at the least, an entry-level phone, but in most cases something more sophisticated.  In addition, we know that ethnic segments are heavy users of mobile services like texting and downloading content.  While it is not going away any time soon, the growing concerns around constant use and rapid growth is something that will need to be monitored closely by brands, agencies, marketers and parents.

10 comments

1 Jerome { 05.21.10 at 2:46 pm }

Great Blog, Joel.
I agree that this is a huge problem for society in general. So large that Oprah has the No Texting While Driving segment at the end of her show, and asks her guests to join the pledge. Is there an influencer for the Lateen Community to help lead the charge on this growing problem and if so, is there a way to tap into that as marketing professionals?

2 Grace ABD { 06.22.11 at 4:30 am }

I like this because we used to do the same we text all the time with this new smart phones but is not that productive if we can do something like texting messages with information for example if we are in traffic tell to our friends to take and other rut or also if you are watching something important in the TV tell them to watch with you out a new restaurant don’t give a good service etc
I think will be more interesting and productive to do and no used to be gossip olso to give good information
Thanks

3 Betty A01054691 { 09.30.11 at 7:30 pm }

I think the article is very interesting because texting became like a way of communication but now it is very adicted for us, and we don´t notice this problem. Now we depend a lot of texting and if we don´t have our cell phone, we get crazy.

4 David { 10.01.11 at 1:55 am }

I´ve never known someone who is “afraid” of turning off his cellphone, but I do know people whos sends more than 300 texts in a single day.
I personally send text messages while driving and it has never given me problems, I know it is dangeroues but nothing has happend yet.

5 Fer Gomez { 10.02.11 at 7:43 pm }

Texting excessively is a big problem, a friend of mine is texting all the time, even when we are in a party or talking, he says it is communication but I believe it is the opposite because you are not entirely focus neither the person you are texting nor the one you are talking to. It is hard not to text with your friends but we find the right time to do it.

6 Jose L { 03.03.12 at 8:07 pm }

I think when texting, there are more problems than benefits, as the article says; you develop your social skills, but at what price, sometimes it is even dangerous texting, because many teenagers do it when driving, I think we need to stay focused on reality and not on our cellphones, text with moderation

7 Saul { 06.20.12 at 2:16 am }

I think the article is very interesting because texting became like a way of communication but now it is very adicted for all the young people, really that is a big problem because the teens are texting in all the places, and the said that when they are drinving too. All of these situacions are very dangerous for us because the person when he is doing something the new to pay attention in only one thing, because we can’t do two thinks in the same moment.

8 Daniel R. { 06.21.12 at 3:29 am }

Hi Joel.
I agree that is a big problem for society, because young people are always texting and this generates that they are not focus to their daily activities, on the other side is a very effective form of communication, but this makes us dependent of our phones and if we don’t have cellphones we are in seriously problems because we can’t communicate with anyone.

9 paulina { 06.21.12 at 4:10 am }

the internet has become a tool to counicate, with the smartphones we can be in contact with all our friends
I think it is very important and is tool that everyone is using more in young people

10 Divanni { 06.21.12 at 4:14 am }

I think that this problem is not only affecting to teens, it affects all people, because now a days is growing up the necesity to comunicate all that happen to you even in a good or bad way.
It’s important to mention that the new technologies improves many many areas of lifestyle and whole world, but! I don’t like at all this technology, because we are loosing our costumes to go to drink a coffee with our friends to have fun or just for relax.. we now a days do it.. but in front of a computer or any other comunication items… and I think that this situation is so sad because we are loosing our close relationships because of it, we have to be face to face , to be closer to the people that you love.

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