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Is Your Teen Compulsive Texting?

Monitoring your teen's relationship with their phone.

Are you concerned about your teen and their relationship with their phone? This article from The New York Times provides a good overview of the connection between teens, texting, low grades, sleep and eating problems, and compulsive behavior.

We all know that cell phones are here to stay, and that most teens need them at times for very good reasons. According to the Pew Research Center, three quarters of teens have, or have access to, a smartphone. And, as every parent knows all too well, texting has become the main communication tool for most pre-teens and teens. In fact:

  • US teens send an average of 30 texts per day
  • Teen girls send an average of 40 texts per day and older teen girls send an average of 50 texts per day

The impact of this on our children is undeniably concerning.

I recommend that parents monitor their child's texting time. It's important to set and enforce policies in the home like:

  • cell phones off during homework
  • digital/screen-free zones in the house
  • phone-free dinner time and family time
  • screen-free bedtime routines

Of course, it is important for parents to follow these policies and model a good online/life balance . In fact, in a recent study many children said they wish their parents would unplug at certain times and be "more present."

I liken obsessive texting to any other kind of addiction, like gambling or shopping. If your teen exhibits anxiety surrounding her cell phone use, or if she is constantly and impulsively checking her phone for text notifications she might need counseling. If your teen is losing sleep, if his grades are slipping because he is too connected with his cell phone and texting his friends, perhaps it's time to seek some outside help. The counselors at Foundations can help you and your child navigate this ever-evolving terrain and help facilitate the creation and implementation of appropriate and reasonable digital guidelines.

Concerned about your teen's texting or online/life balance? An outside expert opinion can help you restore the balance .