Originally posted in The Globe and Mail
Dear Dr. Wolf,
Is it possible to be addicted to texting? Our 14-year-old daughter has become so attached to her phone, we are beginning to worry about her. Although her marks are still excellent, she shows little interest in things she used to enjoy, such as reading and spending family time with us and her brother. Texting her friends has become the most important thing in her life, and she is sometimes in contact with as many as eight or 10 friends at once. We have imposed a daily three-hour no-texting window, but when the phone is off for those three hours, she seems antsy, fidgety and unable to focus on anything, which increases our concern. Do you have any advice for us?
A sample of typical teen messaging:
Kelsey texting her good friend Anyssa: “Did you notice how Lauren was ignoring Laura today at lunch?”
“You noticed too?”
“Yes. What’s going on between them?”
Simultaneously, Kelsey texting Logan (a boy who is a friend): “You were so rude to Kimmie today.”
“What did I do?”
Simultaneously, Kelsey receiving a text from Angela: “Tell me what you really think about my haircut.”
“I really like it.”
“I’m not. It’s really cute.”
Why do they text all the time? It is being connected to what’s going on. It is being connected to the world of people you care about. It is a world that is not static – it constantly moves along, ever changing – and is of intense interest, especially if there is anything that pertains to you.