Survey Finds Teens Addicted to Text Messaging: Over 100 a Day

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text-messageA Pew Research Center and the University of Michigan study says nearly one out of three kids between 12 and 17 years old send over a 100 texts a day. At school these days, the cell phone is now as common as the backpack, reports CBS News’ Ben Tracy.

Teens say they don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a cell phone.

And four out of five teens admit to sleeping with their cell phones or keeping them near their beds.

At Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, phones are banned in the classroom. But lunchtime is a cellular feeding frenzy, with most students banging out text after text after text.

Most of it’s just “‘How have you been?’ ‘What are you doing today?’ ‘How was your weekend? -Normal stuff,” said texting twin sisters Chantell and Chanell Daniels.

The average adult sends just 10 text messages per day, but older teenage girls – aged 14-17 – send about 3,000 per month.

Sixteen-year-old Annie Levitz sent about 4,000 per month. She now has carpal tunnel syndrome and needs surgery.

“I started, like, losing feeling in my hands and they’d go numb and I’d be going to pick up dishes and things and they would just fall out of my hands,” she said.

Social studies teacher Mike Stryer says some of his students admit they’re hooked.

“I mean, they actually say we are ‘addicted’ to texting and it’s interfering with their studies and their lives,” Stryer said.

Texting is now the main way teens communicate with their friends. So some parents are concerned that their kid’s no longer sit down and simply have a conversation.

“The problem here is we don’t get the nonverbal training that we need for later in life, on a job interview, talking with a friend, consoling friends,” said child psychologist David Swanson. “We’re missing that along the way.”

But to teens glued to their phones, that’s one message that apparently isn’t getting through.

Although teenagers have embraced text messaging as their main form of communication, mobile phones are often a source of tension with parents and schools, a new survey found.

Three-quarters of teens now own cell phones, up from 45 percent in 2004. Of those who own cell phones, 88 percent text, up from just over half in 2006.

At the same time, cell phones and teens’ attachment to them are a source of conflict with parents and schools. Many parents limit cell phone use and 48 percent said they use it to monitor their kids’ whereabouts – either by using GPS technology or calling the child to check in. Not surprisingly, the parents of girls aged 12 and 13 were more likely to say they monitor cell phone use.

The limits did seem to have tangible benefits. Teens were less likely to report regretting a text they sent, or having sent sexual content by text message, if their parents placed limits on text messaging. They were also less likely to us their cell phones dangerously while driving.

Schools, the survey found, often ban cell phones from classrooms, and some from school grounds entirely, seeing them as a “disruptive force.” Still, more than half of teens who own mobile phones said they have sent a text message during class, even though their school bans mobile phones.

Despite all the media attention to “sexting,” only 4 percent of teens said they have sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images of themselves to someone else via a text message. Teens who pay their own cell phone bills were more likely to send “sexts” than those whose parents pay for all or part of their bill.

The survey of 800 teenagers aged 12 to 17 and their parents was conducted on landlines and cell phones from June to September 2009. It was conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project and the University of Michigan’s Department of Communication Studies.

The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

{CBS Broadcasting/Noam Newscenter}


  1. hey i text all the time n im not a text ddicted to texting n all u people need 2 leave us alone dame just becuz we love 2 text dont mean nothing so leave us alone

  2. We might as well leave you guys alone, right? I mean you’re all addicted to texting, but that’s your life. And when you get so addicted that you do it while driving, you then kill someone, and that’s when you want someone to stop leaving you alone. Or what about when you get problems in your hand? That’s when all you idiots who are texting addicts come crawling back. So think before asking someone to leave you alone. Sometimes, it’s not just about you.

  3. Like so many other good things, cell phones can be abused. There is an epidemic of drivers and texting. I had two friends killed by a teenage girl who was texting while driving. Be responsible and accountable; that does not seem to be the watchword of the younger generation but rather how much can I get and how fast rather than how much should I give.

  4. guys,look,im also a teenager,but please understand that this is a study,they dont mean to hurt your feelings.they’re just stating whats the result of the suvey,and i think its true,because look at how you type,you guys are using sms language your no longer using the formal english.sorry,but thats just my point of view.

  5. My daughter texts 7,000 texts a month. She is addicted to her phone. She texts every minute to someone. She is failing out of college, does not sleep at night because of texting, room is a mess, late for school, etc… We took her phone away last night after allowing her several times this would happen if she couldn’t manage her time better. Well… now she has NO phone. We will give it back when she gets her life back in order again.


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