Are All Teens Addicted to Texting?

Updated on December 18, 2013
J.O. asks from Novi, MI
25 answers

Another post got me thinking...
Anyone have a teen who texts very little and only uses it now and then?

I see teens today glued to phones, and it's honestly just sad.

I know I never needed a phone in high school. I went to school and my sport practice. My kids are not getting phones in high school. I do not have a phone that does anything but make calls. High school hasn't changed so that kids need phones, for goodness sake!

Texting and driving is just another worry, but for so many other reasons, I don't want my kids addicted to devices they carry with them.

What are your experiences with teens and texting?

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So What Happened?

Thanks! I've just read so much that texting is addicting and lights up the brain when you get one (same part of the brain that drugs affect). This rewiring of the brain is a scary, new thing. That is NOTHING like talking for hours on the phone to a friend back in the day.

I held my ground and they don't have any tablets or video games, etc. I'll hold my ground on the phone issue too. Honestly they do so much other stuff they don't miss it (and the teens I know are so addicted). It's a huge undertaking to get a phone and pay the monthly fees, add in multiple kids. I don't think I'll have a problem saying no, if only for the expense alone! :)

As adults they can do as they please, but right now I struggle to make sure they get tons of play in each day and stay away from screens. Preschool and sports keep them plenty busy and I want them to stay active as kids, not in front of screens. Childhood is just once and I figure an active one is best. I imagine other parents struggle with this, too. Technology can be great, but it is honestly taking over kids' lives. I seldom see the balance or moderation (that people say is key) in other households.

Featured Answers



answers from Washington DC on

My 10 year old has an ipod touch and face times and texts constantly with her BFF. When I was young, before the internet, cell phones and smart phones, we used to write notes back and forth and fold them up and give them to each other to read at school and home.

It's all the same now, it's just electronic...same song, different verse...

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boise on

I didn't have texting in high school, and I love texting. In todays fast paced world it's a great way to stay in contact.

We had pagers...those were fun lol

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Every generation has it's medium, it's issues & it's problems.
With the one now, it is cell phones, texting & social media.
When I was a teen I had a phone and small tv in my room. There were rules though that were strictly enforced by my parents.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

Phones don't cause texting addictions. People cause texting addictions.

A lazy parent is a lazy parent. It has nothing to do with the device (or lack thereof) and EVERYTHING to do with teaching your child(ten) how to use what is available. If that is technology all the better. But the ABSENCE of a phone doesn't mean your child(ten) will be less addicted once they DO get one. In fact, if a high schooler isn't taught HOW to use their phone responsibly and for the correct purpose under the watchful disciplined guidance of a parent what makes you think they will magically learn when they go to college or get out in the real world.

My grandmother didn't need a phone. Or a college education. Or a microwave. The times they are a changin'.

I use a microwave regularly. That doesn't mean I don't know how to cook. I know how to cook because I learned meal planning and nutrition. I use my microwave to HELP me, not for shitty convenience foods..... Again, it's the PERSON not the tool/device.

My daughter is 13 and has an iPhone. She is given limits, but there have been MANY times I have been able to communicate with her for things that made it much less stressful for us both.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Well my teens text a lot, and are online on their phones/computers quite a bit in general.
But they also play sports, have "real" friends and PT summer jobs and two of them are now in college and doing just fine.
My 14 and 18 year old girls are in the other room right now, watching a Christmas movie together.
So I guess it's a non issue for me.
Raise your kids to be well rounded and don't make "problems" where there are none. Technology is simply a fact of life. Not accepting that fact simply makes you seem old and out of touch in your kids' eyes.
The sky is not falling...

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Richland on

Addicted? Dramatic much? I mean here you are critiquing other people's teens when I see you posting all the time about how your kids are so awful you put them in daycare the minute you can because you can't control them. I wouldn't worry about teen texting, your problems are going to be so much worse. You posted you put your five year old in all day for my sanity.

I am sorry, I just can't get past that. It is like asking is your neighbor's fire pit dangerous while your house is burning down.

So far as my kid go, my adult children texted a lot as teens. Still scholar athletes, still went to college, still have friends, nothing bad happened.

Anyway, get your own house in order, stop worrying about everyone else.

Oh yes, no texting at church, clearly not in school, not at the table. Not an issue.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My daughter will be 19 next week. She's had a phone since she was about 10 and it has evolved to a lot of texting. I did not have a cell phone at her age but I did have a separate phone line in my room and it drove my mom nuts because I was on that phone all the time with friends.

Our entire family texts a lot. If you look at my bill, it's a close race ad to which one if us has the most texts! On 2 occasions (middle school) my daughter texted me from school when there was a lockdown. I would text her at school pick up especially if it was raining so she knew exactly where I was in the carpool line.

Many companies and organizations use mass text to communicate with people. For instance... Daughter received a mass text from her college to let all students know there was no school last week due to ice. The colleges also use the text to let students know of ER procedures such as lock down as well.

A lot of good things can happen with texts. I know the organizations my daughter is in does use text. Not only that, groups of friends mass text each other for party invitations, ball game notices, social activities.

Look at it this way... MODERATION is key. True, there's no need to be glued to the phone and texting 24/7. There was no need for me to be on my phone as a teen as much as I was but at that time... It was the teen thing.

Texting has benefits and if used with moderation you can stay up with the recent tech innovations and have a full life without harm. If someone chooses to go live under a rock , raise children under this rock and then expect these children to have the know how and wits about them in real life, then someone is dreaming.

It's all about giving them a long leash and teaching responsibility and independence.

Bottom line ... As a parent, you do what you feel is best for your family.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

well when I was a teen I would have hour long phone conversations w my girlsfriends, mom was just happy I was quiet and giving her some peice. and I have to say I caught myself checking my internet sites this one included while waiting for a Christmas concert to start when I suppose I could have been talking to real people.

it doesn't make it right but unless you are going to live non mainstream this is part of our culture now, I don't know how to reverse it other than to go live in the woods in a hut.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Danville on

Well...I am a relic from many years ago...

I would NOT have gotten cell phones for my kiddos IF pay phones were still available.


so...each kiddo has a 'pay as we go' phone...until they wish to pay for something more.

just my 2 cents...and ya get what ya pay for!!



we have a NO texting rule for meals...and church.


a 'breach' means loss of a phone.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My kids got cell phones in 6th and 5th grades - more to keep in touch with Dh and myself, not for fun and calling/texting with friends. My oldest (now a college freshman) barely texted til her senior year. Really, it's no different than when I was in HS in the 1980's and would spend a couple of hours a night on the phone with friends who I had seen that day in school. Most kids have phones in middle school. I didn't want my middle schoolers answering the home phone when they were home alone, we didn't have caller ID, so this allowed me to check in with them when they got home from school (which was before I got home from work) and to touch base when they were at school events to know when and where to pick them up, to let them roam the mall with a friend and have a text check in every half hour. We bought my oldest an international plan so that when she went on a HS trip to Europe last year, she could contact us that way, and texting is our primary communication now that she's away at college in addition to how she contacts her friends. How old are your children? You may say that HS hasn't changed, but if you don't have a HS'er yet, you don't know that. Texting is how the kids get invited somewhere, and how they contact you to come and get them when they've gone to a party, and drugs/alcohol come out - they get out of the house so they aren't there when the cops are called, and they call/text you with their cell to come and get you. If your teen drives and has access to a car, it's also how they let you know that they have broken down or gotten a flat. Cell phones are not evil.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

In the families I worked with as a nanny, the teens had full lives. Texting wasn't going on at the table or when company was over. Their parents had set a good precedent that you paid attention to who ever was physically present.

In my own extended family, some of the adults are the worst offenders. I guess we can only expect the kids to live up to our example! and make good limits. My husband and I have 'dumb' phones, I do not text (don't care to) and he only does for work--- otherwise, he'll just call someone.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Some are addicted and some are not addicted.
It's the same with adults.
My husband is the text addict in our house - he works with text addicts and they all text each other all the freaking time.
Texting didn't exists when I went to school.
We did it the old fashioned way.
We passed notes on bits of paper.
My husband (then boyfriend) kept every note/letter I ever sent to him.
He's such a romantic guy!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

J., I saw this last night and thought about your question.. If you have not seen this commercial I encourage you to watch. Many teens are awkward and shy.. This is what my experiences is with many teens.. They look bored, uninterested, can come off as rude, but there is a lot going on in there.

I had a Princess phone with my own number in middle and high school. I was on it all of the time. I remember falling asleep while talking on the phone some of the times. Usually during the summer.

Not sure if I was addicted as much as lonely since I did not have neighbors close by.

There are rules and responsibilities. Each generation thinks the next are weaker, have less control and do not understand how lucky they are compared to past generations..

Somethings never change.. People.. we never change..

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My oldest will be 16 in a few weeks and he doesn't text much at all. He doesn't have a girlfriend right now either. I figure with a girl in the picture he will text more. ;)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I know what you mean except I also had a phone in my room and tv and used them a ton. Yet got very good grades. I also spent tons of class time not paying attention bc I was writing notes to friends I would pass later. So sometimes I think we just have different mediums now...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Oh J., I'll bet you dollars to donuts that yes, your kids will have phones in high school. I'll do you one better and guess that you cave by middle school. It's just the reality of their world - if your kids want to communicate with their peers, their coaches, and sometimes even their teachers, some kind of messaging is a must. Doesn't matter if it's on a phone (which is the cheapest, simplest and most portable option) or on another device like a tablet or computer, your kids will be messaging people. Yes, high school has changed in such a way that kids do need phones, tablets, computers, twitter accounts, facebook accounts, etc. You'll believe me when your kids get there.

My two oldest are 16 and 15. My 16-year-old step-daughter was a texting fiend in 8th and 9th grade but that has dropped off dramatically. I think part of it is that the kids are all busy so they're not just sitting around texting each other like they used to. And part of it is that they've learned to not send one-word texts and actually know how to complete their thoughts before sending a message.

My 15-year-old son didn't get a phone until he was 13 and between losing phone privileges and breaking phones, he doesn't have one more often than he does. He actually uses an iPad for messaging and recently went 6 months without a phone without a problem once he got his contacts all on his tablet messenger. He also actually knows his friends phone numbers and will just call people from a land line or from my cell when needed.

It's really about setting simple rules. They don't take their phones to school, there are no phones allowed at the table, in restaurants, while visiting relatives, in church, in Sunday school, etc. There is definitely a period of high activity when kids first get phones, then the novelty wears off and they settle into using it when needed or when they're just hanging out. If we allowed our kids to bring their phones everywhere then they would of course whip them out and start texting if they're bored, but they know that we don't allow it so they leave them in the car and spend time actually talking to family and friends when visiting. If kids are glued to their phones in inappropriate places, that's a parenting issue, not a technology one.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My teenage daughter does text a lot. If your child does not have a phone with the ability to text they will miss out. Kids send group messages to organize a night at the movies or various get togethers and parties. My daughter had one friend that didn't text last year and I really felt sorry for her because people would forget to invite her. She has a phone this year though.
When I was a teenager I would be on the phone for hours with various friends. My parents got a second line since I was tying up the phone all night.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Yes, they are addicted to an extent, but it's the new social norm. You might find it a lot more difficult to not give your kids phones in high school than you think.

How many things did I say I would "never" do with my kids, and then I completely reversed my position? Beware of extreme pronouncements.

Better not to make things the forbidden fruit. How about trying to teach your kids to use phones responsibly. It won't go over well if they are almost the only kids who don't have phones.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

It depends on the teen. For my very social 13 yr old, yep he's addicted to it. He loves being able to text his friends and make plans. But he's mostly skimming Instagram, so I'd say he's addicted to that.

Other teens could care less. It depends on the person.

Growing up, my sister was addicted to talking on the phone. She would be on the phone almost all afternoon. Today she is not addicted to any media.

Like B said, some adults are addicted and some are not. Same with teens.

I happen to love the text feature on my phone. It makes quick communication very easy.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I'm okay with teens texting. My ire goes to adults that I meet for lunch and they text and ask the waitress to connect them to wi fi! Damn, you can't be an hour with a friend without wi fi? Wth!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

I've got one (19) who texts constantly and another (16) who rarely texts (but that one loves his computer).

I'm concerned that our kids' (and our own) brains are being "re-wired" with all this technology. I just have no idea what to do about it. :/

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Well my teens text a lot, and are online on their phones/computers quite a bit in general.
But they also play sports, have "real" friends and PT summer jobs and two of them are now in college and doing just fine.
My 14 and 18 year old girls are in the other room right now, watching a Christmas movie together.
So I guess it's a non issue for me.
Raise your kids to be well rounded and don't make "problems" where there are none. Technology is simply a fact of life. Not accepting that fact simply makes you seem old and out of touch in your kids' eyes.
The sky is not falling...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Lancaster on

Haven't read your answers yet but my 14 year old DD isn't addicted to texting or to her phone in general. She is a freshman this year and uses the phone to keep in touch with me and a very small circle of close friends on occasion. Once she's home, she doesn't have her phone near her most of the time. She rarely even checks it on weekends. The phone is a basic phone that can make calls and text - no internet access.

The funny thing is that she has told me that a lot of the kids she's met in HS don't know how to have a conversation face to face. She's very talkative and social but says kids don't know how to TALK because they're used to texting. Sad state of affairs, isn't it?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

When I was young,About 16 (4 years ago) I would text non-stop,My boyfriend (now hubby) my friends and would be on the computer all the time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I echo Mamazita's post. Don't make a big deal out of these things and it won't be one. My daughter is 10 and has a phone, but prefers to use her ipod to facetime with her friends. She does text, but not constantly.

My kids are involved in school and sports as well, and spend more time off of their devices than not...but I don't see this as any different than I would be on the phone all the time as a teen. It's just a different beast.

1 mom found this helpful
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