Lifewatch: Teens addicted to texting

Reported by Claire Hosmann - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - It's no secret most teenagers talk with their friends more than their parents, but these days most talking seems to be done by texting - which has some health care professionals concerned.

17-year-old Stephanie Barraque admits she texts up to 200 times in just one day.

"Basically everything is about texting," said Barraque.  "No one calls anymore."

Texting keeps her connected to friends around the clock, separating from her sidekick makes her feel lost.

"I need to have it on me," said Barraque.  "I mean if I don't have it on me, I lose sight of things, I lose sight of the world!"

The recent high school graduate speaks for millions of teens across the country who might say they're addicted to texting.

Now some psychologists are worried texting is taking its toll.

"Parents need to understand the dangers," said counselor Marisa Azaret.

Most schools forbid texting in class, but Stephanie, who is an 'A' student, says it's still a big distraction.

"Like the teacher will pass by and behind their backpacks, and they leave their backpacks on their desks and they'll be like texting, 'Hey what's up?' and things like that," said Stephanie.

Sleep deprivation is another problem.

"I'll hear the noise at night because I'm a light sleeper and right after you get a text you're interested in what's going on with the other person that just texted you at 2:00 AM," said Stephanie.

It's no surprise experts say this phenomenon can only lead to restlessness and anxiety.

"If they never replied you back you kinda get, 'OK, no one's calling me. I want to know what's wrong,'" said Stephanie.

Experts say parents need to get involved.

"Parents need to set the limits, and say during the week, 'You know what? Zero phone, zero computer, zero text messaging after 8:00 PM,'" said Azaret.

Since this phenomenon of texting is so new, there's no conclusive data on how it effects the way adolescents develop.