Frequent texting is the trademark of teenagers nowadays. However, compulsive texting is putting girls’ academic performance at risk, according to a recent study.
Teens are the champions of texting. Communicating via messages on any messaging app at hand has become a state-of-the-art behavior. Fear of missing out on anything that may happen, the need to be connected 24/7 are all driving this engagement in modern communication means.
One Pew Research study established that 63 percent of teens surveyed text daily, while only 39 still take the time to call their friends or family daily. Nonetheless, according to lead author of the new study and assistant professor of psychology with Delaware County Community College in Media, Kelly M. Lister-Landman, compulsive texting is not equated with frequent texting.
“Compulsivity is more than just the number of texts teens are engaging in. It involves trying and failing to cut back on texting, becoming defensive when challenged about the behavior and feeling frustrated one can’t do it”.
The study had over 400 participants, all of them students in the eighth grade and eleventh grade at the same school district. All participants were asked to complete a specific questionnaire regarding texting and related questions, as well as their academic performance. The research team pointed out that the results of the study are based on self-reported answers. However, they do indicate a significant trend.
Firstly, girls are more likely to engage in compulsive texting. Boys aren’t as likely to engage in compulsive texting, perhaps due to the fact that they are less inclined to take part in all the conversations and topics circulating in their group of friends or in the school.
The second finding is that girls who are more likely to engage in compulsive texting are also more likely to have poor academic performance.
The study doesn’t establish a correlation between girls’ academic performance and compulsive texting. However, the researchers note, this might be due to the fact that losing so much time communicating with their friends leaves them little time to prepare for school accordingly. Our smartphones are always one reach away. Compulsive texting is a hard to kick habit, much like gambling, the researchers also noted. With the temptation of always being connected so easily at hand, there is little one can do about it.
While compulsive texting is putting girls’ academic performance at risk, the study found that overall, girls performed better in school, were more engaged in class and in some areas performed better than the boys involved in the study.
Of the surveyed girls who were found to engage in compulsive texting, 14 percent reported they were C students. Boys who were compulsively texting reported being B students or above.
The study is published in the online journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture.
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