20 Jan 2010
Penny Hartsoe is just the average teenage girl—she loves to talk to her friends and flirt with boys. These social needs used to be fulfilled at school or in a phone call before bed. Thanks to text messaging technology, this Roseburg High School sophomore is able to keep in touch at 6:20 am, 9:58 am, 1:45 pm, 4:50 pm, 6:00 pm, 9:23 pm, 11:14 pm, 2:03 am, and all hours and minutes between. Penny says, “I feel like it’s a part of me, and without it, I’m naked.” When glancing through her phone records, the number of messages sent and received in a given twenty four hour period is close to 500. She claims that is “normal,” and that “there are girls who text way more” (P. Hartsoe).
The Washington Post looks at the nationwide trend; a study done by the Nielson Co, released in early 2009, says that “the most avid texters are thirteen to seventeen,” and they average 2,272 text messages a month. This breaks down to about eighty messages a day. This was the nationwide average for 2008, but thanks to the rise in unlimited texting plans, this number can only go up (St. George). Teenagers’ use of cell phones needs to be more closely regulated by their parents, because the excessive use of this technology distracts from family life, school, and even affects their health and safety.
Texting can interfere with family relationships. Naomi S. Baron, professor of linguistics at American University, states that texters have difficulty being "in the moment" with other people because “they are constantly being summoned by someone else in another place.” She elaborates: "It is part of a larger phenomenon of where is your mind, and if your mind is always on your phone, it's not on other things” (St. George). Family time at home “takes a hit,” says David E. Meyer, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan. Even though parents and teens are in the same room, a texter's attention is elsewhere....