Teen Texting Epidemic

Melissa is a 16 year old from Valley Stream, New York. She is currently a junior in high school and is assiduously studying for her AP and SAT Exams.

Texting amongst teenagers is an obsession. There is a very limited chance that you can walk into a room and not see a teenager or even an adult on their cell phone, fingers typing away rapidly on the keyboard. I recently went to Bingo Night at my school, and one of the adults was texting while she was also conversing with her friend at the table. She apologized for being rude, but her friend told her not to worry about it, because it’s a social norm. That is what texting has become- a socially accepted norm.

However, this norm has escalated to a point where teenagers are glued to their phones. Many of my own friends send more than 5,000 text messages a month, and would literally cry if they did not have unlimited texting. What do teens text you ask? Well from my knowledge, most girls text to relay a really important message, describing the day’s climatic events; or other teens are having a casual conversation when they are bored. Texting has become increasingly popular in recent years because it is: easier to communicate, and texting gives teens a reprieve from saying something emotional or something else of the crucial sort to someone’s face. When saying something crucial to someone over text, it is a habit for many teens to check their phone constantly to make sure they have not missed the reply. Or in some cases, the heightened anticipation of waiting leads to a churn in the stomach and an “OH MY GOD” moment, with you thinking “Did I really send that risky text?

In addition, when teens are bored in class, they shrewdly whip out their phone to leave the teacher’s drowsy voice behind. Even if there is nothing at all to talk about, I might get a text in the middle of class, with the words “Hey what’s up,” from my friend who is sitting in the row next to me. Or the text might say something she could not say out loud; whether it be chastising the teacher or a complaint about how she wants the weekend to come already. (Yes, I occasionally look at my cell phone in school, which is tucked in my pocketbook- I think all teens are guilty of it!)

These little texting habits soon become an addiction. A large majority of teens have said they cannot live without their phones. While that statement made by many teens might be a stretch, it is certainly a valid point. Teens LIVE on their phones. And I mean it. Even if we don’t have a text message, we check it just to make sure we didn’t accidentally miss the vibration sound in our jacket pocket, or to send a random text message when bored. Waiting in a dentist or doctor’s office with nothing to do leads to teens whipping out their phone and casually texting. Texting especially becomes useful in awkward situations. When at a party where you do not know anyone, even if you are not actually texting someone, pretending to text is useful because it shows that you are “pre-occupied” with something else and lessens the awkwardness.

All these little texting factors lead up to a bigger epidemic. An addiction to texting takes away the time teens have to study, or to gain physical exercise. Sitting on the couch texting your boyfriend or girlfriend or friend or cousin 24/7 is not going to help you get into a college, or further your goals in life. Lay low on the texting. There are other things to enjoy in life as well!

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