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Teenage texting addiction: Challenges and solutions

Cell phones, as we know, are an integral part of everybody’s lives, with children as young as 10 and 12-years-old owning them. With parents getting more well to do and basically willing to do anything to please their children, this trend is not exactly a huge shocker. Technology has infiltrated into our lives to such an extent that it has become nearly impossible to make ado without it. Does it then, come as a huge surprise, that the teenagers are texting each other across class, on the bus, during parties, and what not?

While texting is fun, a little indulgence can go awry awfully fast if we don’t keep a track of it. It seems to fascinate us every single time our fingers fly across a keypad to receive and send those ever so entertaining text messages. However, the addiction relating to texting goes deeper than merely a mean of communication. It is a proven fact that teenagers are now increasingly finding face to face interactions harder – thanks to the convenience of text messages. For that matter, even phone conversations are becoming painful ordeals, hence, leaving cellphone companies gaining millions in the form of text messages.

A personal perspective

The phenomenon of text messaging addiction, is something which is more psychologically deep rooted than what it appears to be. There are many reasons for this. The most common one being peer pressure. The root cause of this starts with peer pressure to own a phone. It graduates to being able to send lightning fast replies to text messages, irrespective of the situation a person is in. Whether you’re in class, at the dinner table, or trying to get some homework done, it doesn’t matter. If the reply isn’t fast enough, you’re simply not “cool” enough.

Solution: A teenager must first learn and be made aware of peer pressure and the dangers attached to it. He/she must also be made aware that although peer pressure is an unavoidable roadblock in an otherwise smooth road to growing up, it simply cannot be avoided. They must rise to the situation and must be taught how to say no.

The only way in which a teenager can overcome his/her text messaging addiction is by showing love to them. Understanding is what they need. Prying parents and forceful tactics will not work. If you confiscate your child’s phone, they might go out and buy a new one. Or may even get addicted to other forms of social media. Confiscation is something that may seem to temporarily alleviate the problem, but it does not provide a long term solution.

The best way to actually help a teenager to get over the problem, is by not making a very big deal of it. If your teenager is addicted to text messaging, it’s probably because their new shiny cellphones fascinate them. After a given period of time, they WILL get tired of it and life will be normal again. However, it helps to lay down some ground rules related to text messaging such as, no text messaging at the dinner table, no text messaging while doing homework and so on. Appear as a friend to your teen, as somebody who actually wants to help them instead of being somebody they should be distrustful of.

Celebrities speak out

However, one issue that needs to be issued on a wide scale is – teenagers text messaging while at the wheel. While text messaging itself is a concern that is slowly but surely fading, text messaging at the wheel brings up a whole new facet of danger. Around 75 percent of American teenagers admit to using the phone while at the wheel.

Famous talk show host, Oprah Winfrey, has released a public interest message urging people of all ages, not to look at or use their phones while driving. Here’s a look at the clip.

The pledge which can be taken at http://www.oprah.com/questionaire/ipledge.html?id=4 is one of the many initiatives taken to prevent teenagers from texting at the wheels. Nearly 4,20,000 people have taken the pledge.

Hence, many means are used to create awareness, but ultimately, it is up to the teenagers themselves to wake up and realize that text messaging is best restricted to certain times, and that pulling over to the side of the road is the best way to text message while driving.

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