A study done by the Pew Research Center has examined the relationship between the frequency of teenage texting, problematic and compulsive texting, and teenagers' academic achievements and attitudes about school.
According to the Pew Research Center, on how millennials communicate, "text messaging has increased dramatically over the past 10 years." The study found that only 35 percent of teens socialize face-to-face, compared to 63 percent of teens who communicate mostly via text message.
The study published in "Psychology of Popular Media Culture" clarified the difference between compulsive texting and simply sending a high number of text messages. Kelly Lister-Landman, lead author and assistant professor of psychology at Delaware County Community College, explained that compulsive texting "involves trying and failing to cut back on texting, becoming defensive when challenged about the behavior, and feeling frustrated when one can't do it," reported Time Magazine.
Compulsive texting causes girls to academically perform lower than boys, the New York Times noted. The lower grades can also be linked to loss of sleep due to compulsive texting, because teens are awakened by text messages at night.
Psychologist Kimberly Young, who established the Center for Internet Addiction, disagrees with the study's findings. She said, "I don't think texting is causing academic problems - I think it's an attention-span issue. If you're constantly checking your phone, how are you going to study for school? I have kids who sit through an hour-long lecture without checking their phone."
"While compulsive texting has the potential to predict poorer academic adjustment, it is plausible that normative texting may enhance academic performance when used in a goal-oriented way to facilitate understanding of material assignments," the study concluded. In other words, texting in moderation is fine for teens.
Dr. Lister-Landman suggests that parents may want to tell their children to turn off their phones during homework or when they go to sleep. Parents may consider creating screen-free times and zones in the home to help their children establish a routine bedtime free from phone interruption. There is a time to text, there is a time to study, there is a time to eat, and there is a time to sleep.