The average American teen is sending more text messages than ever before, quickly becoming their primary means of daily communication according to a report published last month by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The report, entitled “Teens, Smartphones & Texting,” was penned by Amanda Lenhart, and notes several major statistical changes regarding teenager cell phone use in just over a two-year period. According to the report, a typical teen ages 12 to 17 was sending approximately 60 texts per day in 2011, up from 50 in 2009. Additionally, the report finds that older teens, boys and African-Americans are texting in greater numbers than in 2009. The research indicates that kids ages 14 to 17 are sending a median of 100 texts per day, almost doubling the median number of texts the same age group was sending in 2009.
As you know, the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange is a trial project to find new ways to support the coverage of important niche issues that the mainstream media no longer covers. So we are always looking for ways to improve our coverage, especially in reaching out to you to supply information that our reporters need to know. In this digital age we have to make that as easy as possible; hence, our idea for the SchoolHouse Witness Project. I like it a lot and submitted it to the Knight News Challenge, which underwrites innovative ideas. We are now in the Second Round of the competition.
Some teenagers who text more than 120 times a day and spend hours using social media may be more likely to have sex, drink a lot, smoke and feel more stress. Researchers at Case Western Reserve University are studying the link between heavy use of communication technology and risky behavior that can affect kids’ health. Dr. Scott Frank presented a study at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Denver. Dr. Frank teaches at Case, he’s a family physician, director of a local health department and a substance abuse prevention group. He surveyed 4,257 teenagers at 20 high schools in the Cleveland Ohio area. Click here to read the abstract. Click here for the full study.
Allowing your kids to send texts or use the Internet before bed may give them problems sleeping at night and problems at school during the day, according to a pilot study at the JFK Medical Center. The study found that texting and other electronic interactions are linked to restlessness, insomnia, and leg pain at night in young people ages 8 to 22. Researchers studied 40 kids (60 percent boys, 40 percent girls), average age 14.5. They found the boys were more likely to surf the Net and game online, while girls preferred to text or use their cell phones. And not just a few texts here and there, these kids were very active.