Chapter Twenty-Seven: Texting and Sexting

As the world becomes more mobile, with virtually every adult owning a cell phone and almost all teens owning one as well, dangers arise with having your children text their friends, or even people they may not know. It is important to educate your children about the dangers of texting while driving before they get behind the wheel, and implementing the "it’s just not worth it" attitude with their texting habits.

There have been generations of technological advances that have transformed how adolescents and teenagers communicate with their friends, but the texting generation has brought an entirely new perspective on relationships and connecting. "About 77% of teens own a cellphone, with one in four owning a smartphone. And most are texting. 75% said they actively text; 63% said they text every day." Only a fraction of teenagers, 39% to be exact, actually use their phones to make phone calls daily. A staggering majority of cellphone users use their phones to text or connect online. It was also found that only 35% of teenagers said they socialize face-to-face with friends outside of school – proving just how heavily teenagers rely on computers and cellphones in their daily lives for social interactions.

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Texting – risky behaviour

Though texting allows teens to connect to their friends fast and with extreme ease, there are many dangers that come with it. Texting appear to take over teens’ lives, and distract them from many important activities, or even get them involved in risky behaviors. With the increase in usage of social media and chat rooms, adolescents and teens are more exposed to strangers, are more prone to meet and communicate with these sexual predators. If they begin to talk to these strangers, they tend to exchange information with them, most often pictures, but they can also send them their phone numbers – making it easier for them to talk at all times. Parents should watch and look for warning signs to see if your child is communicating with sexual predators via text messages.

Texting while in school or during outings, whether regular conversations or even sexting, can be distracting and detract from shared experiences. It is crucial for parents to pay attention to their child’s texting habits while doing homework, or if they can, while they are in school. Texting is becoming increasingly distracting for adolescents and teens everywhere. Many reports are finding that texting has gotten to be a huge problem in schools for children of all ages. The distractions of the phone are taking away from the opportunity to learn, and statistics show that grades are starting to drop considerably because of this. As kids now have the opportunity to always be connected with friends from school, or outside of school, they can send or receive texts at any time of the day. Even if they are not physically sending out texts during class, they can become distracted by the buzzing or on-screen light up of a new notification from someone they received a text from.

How to prevent kids from excesive texting

These little distractions can cause them to lose focus, and lose track of the lecture, and keep them from staying on track to take full advantage of class time. Texting is becoming such a widely used form of communication and a main source of distraction that schools are beginning to forbid texting in class or on campus as a whole. Unfortunately, most teens take this to be a challenge. These bans, in essence, make kids go to great lengths to find covert ways of texting their friends in class. The task of thinking of a way to do this and actually doing it takes away from class time and learning, which is an issue in and of itself. Talking to your children about limitations on texting and when are appropriate times to text and not can help your child focus better in school and enjoy activities that they were distracted from before. Another good way to easily put limits on your child’s texting habits could be to not allow for unlimited texting plans on their phone bill. Setting up a limited amount of text messages on a plan could deter your child from constantly texting their friends and may actually help them from becoming attached to their phones, as well as protect them from sexual predators and texting while driving.