Textoholic

We all know that kids love texting, with repercussions good and bad. And many of us have heard stories of kids who text literally thousands of text messages per month. After all, the average number of monthly texts for a 13- to 17-year-old teen is 1,742, according to a recent Nielsen study.

But 14,528 text messages in one month?

California dad Greg Hardesty almost fell out of his chair when he discovered his AT&T statement was 440 pages long (thank goodness it was an online statement). His daughter Reina had texted 14,528 text messages that month.

Grab your calculator….

    -That’s 484 texts a day.

    -That’s 34 texts every waking hour.

    -That’s more than one text message every two minutes that Reina is awake!

This girl’s cereal definitely gets soggy every morning.

Can  you say, “out of control?”

Click here for the entire article.

(ht to Youth Culture Window guru David)

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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6 Responses to Textoholic

  1. jon forrest says:

    i have a feeling this girl has more “waking hours” than her dad knows about. we need david (the yc guy)to tell us what this means. is it harmful? how should we deal with it? is it just her thing, like playing halo to a guy?

  2. Jon… good question.

    David has actually written a couple youth culture window articles about cell phone use already. The one linked above… and the recent one about mobile porn. (Jump on our web site and scroll your mouse up to ARTICLES & HOW TO’S, then choose YOUTH CULTURE WINDOW from the drop menu. You’ll see a ton of articles… today, the mobile porn one is about three articles down.)

    I think, like anything, texting is probably bad when it’s this out of control. Eating is this bad out of control. Heck… exercise would be bad if it was this out of control.

    I don’t see huge red flags with the amount of texting the average teenager does. I like the fact that teenagers want relationships with others. Communication in itself isn’t a bad thing.

    I don’t like the disappearance of face to face relationships though. I’ve talked about this before in the context of adults talking with kids. Type CONNECTING in the search box in this blog page and look at the blog I wrote titled “Is Technology Taboo for Connecting WIth Kids.”

    Thanks for your thoughts Jon.

  3. Amanda Cash says:

    That’s nothing. The day after I read that article online, my local “news website” provided a link to another article about a similar situation, except THIS teenage girl (age 14) texted 35,000 messages in one month!

    That girl’s dad thinks it’s harmless because it keeps her from “getting bored” and having other bad habits. As a youth pastor, that scares me a little because, like you said, anything that becomes that out of control can be harmful. Interesting food for thought!

    Here’s the link:
    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/lake/orl-text1409jan14,0,5867250.story

  4. Joe Hoffer says:

    I’ve had 14,000 texts in one month and i didn’t text every waking moment. Convos go fast on texting, and its usually multiple people. I use texting to witness and fellowship with people. Its the modern age, and it needs to be used. I’m a Pastoral Major at Pensacola Christian College. Texting, like anything else, can be used for good, or abused. Please don’t assume the worst on any teenager.

    -Joe

  5. wes says:

    HOLY CRAP Batman!!!

    I just saw WALL-E the other night and when I saw all the fat people buzzing around on their chairs glued to the screen in front of them I immediately thought of so many of the students in my youth ministry.

    Not so much the fat part, but the glued to the screen part. So many of them have no clue how to interact as people. Most could beat me at thumb wrestling since that is the once muscle that gets used most, but they have a heckuva time carrying a conversation for more than 2 sentences.

    Every time I go to a ball game I see 2/3 of the student section w/ their heads down, eyes glued to their phone while their thumbs work furiosly to text the friend 3′ down the bleachers.

    It has finally happened I got old and tired of trying to keep up and be cool…

    Wes

  6. David says:

    Jon Forrest,
    You asked for my thoughts about this as the “youth culture guy.” First, thanks for your thoughts on the youth culture window about texting. I think that 14,000 text messages per month is a bit excessive, but remember, one message can be sent to multiple recipients at the same time…each counting as a separate text message. (For example, I used to draft a text message about our Friday night outreach events each week, and then text it to every single kid that afternoon as soon as school was out. One message, but it counted as 300.)
    More than likely, this girl is NOT running an outreach event each week! So, I’m pretty sure most of those messages are individual, meaning she probably did send close to 14,000 text messages that month.
    What do we do about it? I think it’s of paramount importance that we responsibly use technology to reach kids, and at the same time, continually encourage them to engage with their friends AND US in face-to-face conversations. No amount of text messages from us as youth workers can replace the ministry of “presence” that we offer kids.
    David R. Smith