Is texting taking a toll on teen health?

Is texting too much of a good thing?
Is texting too much of a good thing?Courtesy Brandon ChristopherWarren
Physicians and psychologists are starting to worry about a new risk to teen health, this time it has nothing to do with drugs or alcohol or other risky behavior. According to some researchers, teenage text-a-holics are beginning to suffer health effects associated with too much time spent hammering away on cell phone keys. These effects range from injured fingers and hands to anxiety, sleep deprivation and poor performance in school.

According to information provided by major cell phone companies, American teenagers sent and received an average of 2,272 text messages per month in late 2008. That's almost 80 messages a day, and the number appears to be growing with the rise of unlimited text message plans.

Some researchers believe that this rate of text communication - and the feeling of constant contact with parents and peers that it provides - may be altering the way that teenagers develop socially. Psychologist Sherry Turlke is quoted in a recent New York Times article:

Among the jobs of adolescence are to separate from your parents, and to find the peace and quiet to become the person you decide you want to be. Texting hits directly at both those jobs.

In other words, in the past teenagers have needed distance from their parents and time alone to develop self-identity. But in the era of constant electronic communication, some worry that this path to development is becoming impossible for texting teens. So what will replace it?

Researchers are quick to point out that there are lots of good things about these new communication technologies, including the way that they make us all feel connected with one another, which is usually a good thing. But is it too much of a good thing?

Are doctors and parents worried because they just don't understand, or is texting really a risk to teen health?

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

shanai's picture
shanai says:

Wow! The New York Times is posting all kinds of articles this week about the bizarre social habits of teenagers. This one is all about hugging.

Apparently, today's teens hug A LOT. That is, when they aren't texting. Or do they text while hugging?

I did the old fashioned thing last night and called my teenage cousin to ask her how many texts she usually sends and receives in a normal day.

Her answer? "A hundred. Maybe more?"

posted on Wed, 05/27/2009 - 10:59pm
DO's picture
DO says:

You can't just test once -- it's more like having a conversation hwere you might go backand forth 20 or 30 times. My son used to routinely go over 3000 a month when he had to paay 10 cents over a 1000.

posted on Fri, 05/29/2009 - 4:38pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

texting is a way for teens to talk wiithhout saying things that they reallly don't want to say. they may overuse it sometimes but it is an excellent stress reliever.

posted on Sun, 05/31/2009 - 4:46pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

sorry... i meant to say... I don't belive in texting, why don't you talk on the phone, or something????????

posted on Mon, 06/01/2009 - 10:50am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

because people don't like to talk on the phone a lot

posted on Mon, 06/01/2009 - 11:10am
noneofyourbuisness's picture
noneofyourbuisness says:

Because teens are in to the new technology. Why don't you write letters instead of email. Same arguement.... PEOPLE LIKE USING NEW TECHNOLOGY!!!!

posted on Sun, 07/04/2010 - 8:20pm
travis14's picture
travis14 says:

Texting is dangerous? I don't think so.Texting may cause injured hands?How?This is very funny.. And also poor performance on school?It depends on the student itself,don't blame it on texting because they have their own choice to manage their time for studying and school activities.

posted on Tue, 06/23/2009 - 10:02pm
parrox's picture
parrox says:

i agree with travis14! you cant just blame texting for poor choices made by a student.

posted on Wed, 06/24/2009 - 1:34pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

im with yah. i think its stupid people blame everything on texting... i mean, come on!!!

posted on Tue, 05/04/2010 - 1:35pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

how is texting bad 4 u?

posted on Wed, 06/24/2009 - 11:27am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i think that texting is sometimes overwhelming... but its not dangerous.. maybe its dangerous when your driving but thats nothing new..

posted on Wed, 06/24/2009 - 12:47pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i think that texting is sometimes overwhelming... but its not dangerous.. maybe its dangerous when your driving but thats nothing new..

posted on Wed, 06/24/2009 - 12:48pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

yes it is they shouldnt have cell phones in the first place other than to call their parents and emergency contacts socialization between teens is now limited to texting and using the interent.

posted on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 12:17pm
EatMe's picture
EatMe says:

Hey i think that texting and the internet is okay. what is wrong with fast communication?? no worries

posted on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 6:59pm
YourNewBFF's picture
YourNewBFF says:

I TOTALLY agree with eat me! she is the smartest ever!

posted on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 7:26pm
rmc's picture
rmc says:

texting enables teens to communicate quickly and often with friends. They keep in touch with friends as a result and discover more about each other that they normally would not know. it's yet to be determine the long term effects but in the short-term it seems like teens are more social as a result.

posted on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 1:53pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

for the most part its positive that teens text so much...however ive noticed that alot of teens today lack face to face social skills also there the differentiation between writing styles and texting...i swear i read a paper the otherday and a student had lol in his paper 3 times...somewhere along the way lol became just a way to talk and not just to say laugh out loud

posted on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 2:08pm
luckychris's picture
luckychris says:

seriously people just relax. parents get to keep constant contact with kids and thats a plus and minus for everyone. psh my parents were way worse than i was and they still insist on monitoring me, lame. but texting like everything else is fine in moderation. i've got friends that dont do anything but and they're pretty immature when it comes to how they act in person, but i dont

posted on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 3:07pm
curious's picture
curious says:

wow, there must not be any more important or pressing issues to study and write about. haven't they upgraded texting and cell phone usage in japan and s. korea way beyond USA standards...there's still teens the injuries must not be that serious.

come, on, not every 13 yr old needs a phone...actually i should say 8-10 yr olds, because it's getting that riidonculous! and no, it is not necessary to text "no" or "yes" or ":P"

parents just need to give their cell phone users more regulations on wasteful usage of minutes/text...but then again, maybe they are willing to pay, so keep texting!

posted on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 4:44pm
g-ray09's picture
g-ray09 says:

i think texting is good so they can keep in touch with each other

posted on Mon, 09/14/2009 - 7:09pm
Amelia's picture
Amelia says:

Hi, I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland and I am looking for a few more Science Buzz users who would like to contribute to my dissertation research about Science Buzz.

I've gotten several responses and am hoping to get just a few more. Your help would consist of taking a brief survey (approximately 10-20 minutes to complete, depending on the length of answers). To proceed to the survey, please visit

Thank you in advance for your interest and time. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at [email protected].

posted on Sat, 07/03/2010 - 2:18pm
touchofteal's picture
touchofteal says:

No I wouldent go as far to say texting is dangerous, yea when your driving, but otherwise then that, to me it seems that texting has just helped kids spread their social networks further and it can encourage friendships between people on in normal circumstances wouldent talk. Its just your perspective on it, everyones gonna think differently about it, and no matter how much you argue with it, texting is here to stay (:

posted on Sun, 07/04/2010 - 2:39pm

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <h3> <h4> <em> <i> <strong> <b> <span> <ul> <ol> <li> <blockquote> <object> <embed> <param> <sub> <sup>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may embed videos from the following providers vimeo, youtube. Just add the video URL to your textarea in the place where you would like the video to appear, i.e.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Images can be added to this post.

More information about formatting options