Physicians and psychologists are becoming concerned about the effects of obsessive text-messaging on teenagers’ well-being, reports The New York Times. According to one recent study, American teens exchange an average of 2,272 text messages per month—or nearly 80 per day. While there are no definitive findings yet on the on the health effects of texting, experts are beginning to suspect that such compulsive activity may be leading to anxiety, repetitive stress injuries, and sleep issues—not to mention all manner of academic difficulties. (Note to teachers: Watch out for the kids who keep their hands under the desks or who frequently seem to be reaching into their backpacks.)
One psychologist quoted in the article contends that texting might even alter normal adolescent developmental patterns, insofar as it can negate the space for social separation that young people need to become autonomous adults. Ironically, some experts point out, part of the problem is that many actual adults are too busy on their cell phones to be aware of their children’s needs or set an effective counter example.