Night Texting Taking Its Toll On Teens

text messagingIn addition to well-publicized problems of texting while driving, doctors have found another serious health risk — lack of sleep — is disrupting teenagers’ lives. The doctors see teen text-messaging at night as a dangerous trend that can lead to poor performance in school. “They’re not able to perform in class or in sports,” said R. Michael Seyffert of the New Jersey Neuroscience Institute at JFK Medical Center in Edison. Seyffert works with many teenagers who have trouble sleeping. “That tiredness, that fatigue, has profound effects on being able to function throughout the day.”

According to a recent Nielsen study, 13- to 17-year-olds send or receive an average of 1,742 text messages a month — more than seven times the average number of calls they place on their cell phones.

“When I put it away or turn it off, I’m very anxious,” Jackie said. “You know there are people trying to text you, you know they’re trying to get in contact with you. You feel bad that you’re not answering because they are used to you always answering.”

Seyffert, who calls the night-texting problem a “crisis,” said he sees two to three teenagers a month with severe texting issues, something he defines as two or more hours of texting and phoning each night. He said texting at night is a trend he has noticed a lot in the last five years, and surmised that the situation will only get worse.

‘A WHOLE DIFFERENT WORLD’

Janet Wojcik of Metuchen said texting is a way of life for her 19-year-old son, Devin, and 15-year-old daughter, Simone.

“Sometimes you’ll walk upstairs at 2 or 3 a.m. and see the glow of the phone because they’re texting,” said Wojcik, 45. “It’s a whole different world.”

Wojcik said her kids oftentimes don’t know what to do with themselves when their gadgets run out of charge or batteries. She said, instead of relying on technology, kids should interact face-to-face.

“They’re spending all their free time with technology-related items, whether it’s their cell phone, iPod or video games,” she said. “I personally believe they should be doing more like sports, being outdoors and reading.”

Wojcik began taking her daughter’s cell phone away at 9 p.m. on school nights so she could get enough sleep. But last Sunday, Simone had already sent 422 messages and received 655 by evening. Even though her phone has been taken away at night, she still wakes up wanting to see if she has missed messages. During the summer, she would send messages while she was half-asleep.

“I would be falling asleep but still try to answer my texts,” Simone said. “But my eyes were closed, so I’d send random messages that didn’t make any sense. I’d realize it the next morning.”

Some teens, like Jackie, who just started her freshman year, have begun to see doctors like Seyffert because of intense migraines, a symptom of lack of sleep.

Since school started, Jackie’s cut back on pulling texting all-nighters, but still doesn’t go to bed until 2 or 3 a.m., and still wakes at times to see if she has any messages. She said the lack of sleep is starting to take its toll at school.

“The first two periods I’m basically a ghost walking,” Jackie said. “I’m just kind of there, but not mentally there. I definitely think it’s a problem for kids my age, maybe not all of them, but a lot of my friends text until at least 3 a.m. It’s just kind of crazy how we can always stay up and keep going with normal life.”

LONG TERM HEALTH EFFECTS

The consequences, Seyffert said, can be detrimental.

“People who get less sleep, they act like they’ve been drinking alcohol,” he said. “There’s impairment in judgment and reaction time. These are kids that need to be their best in terms of their school work and learning new skills, like driving. You wouldn’t let your child drive drunk, why would you let your child, an older teenager, get in a car (if he’s) been texting all night?”

Jackie’s mother and father said they did not want to take away her phone because they don’t want to treat her as a small child. They said they’d rather Jackie learn to prioritize.

“She’s complying with every other rule that I have in the house,” said Sue Warner, Jackie’s mother. “She’s getting honors grades, she’s doing well in sports, and she does chores in the house … the only thing she’s not doing is sleeping enough.”

Videotapes from tests done at JFK Medical Center’s sleep center show several patients getting up in the middle of the night to send text messages. In one case, a nurse asked a teenage patient if his cell phone was off. He answered ‘yes,’ but is then seen texting several times during the night.

Sudhansu Chokroverty, the center’s clinical neurophysiology program director, said no studies have been published in the United States on night texting, but a Belgian study published in August found that late-night texting is affecting the sleep cycles of 44 percent of that country’s 16-year-olds. It revealed that 21 percent woke up one-to three-times a month to answer a text message. It also said it’s a weekly occurrence for 11 percent of the teens, and a nightly or every-other-night wake-up call for 12 percent.

“Sleep deprivation is a serious matter that can cause adverse consequences like obesity (and) Type II diabetes,” Chokroverty said. “There are also long-term consequences, like increased heart disease, hypertension, memory impairment … It’s a serious thing, and of course it impacts the quality of life.”

Jackie’s mother said she doesn’t think her daughter’s problem is limited to texting — Jackie’s addicted to all forms of communication. If she wasn’t sending messages, she’d be on her computer, or watching television, Warner said.

“With all of the media available to kids now, it gives them the opportunity to communicate on so many different levels,” Warner said.

Seyffert said the answer to the problem is simple.

“Throw the phones away, turn the computers off, get the televisions out of the room, and let our kids sleep,” he said. Star Ledger.

This content, and any other content on TLS, may not be republished or reproduced without prior permission from TLS. Copying or reproducing our content is both against the law and against Halacha. To inquire about using our content, including videos or photos, email us at [email protected].

Stay up to date with our news alerts by following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

**Click here to join over 15,000 receiving our Whatsapp Status updates!**

**Click here to join the official TLS WhatsApp group!**

Got a news tip? Email us at [email protected], Text 415-857-2667, or WhatsApp 609-661-8668.

Check out the latest on TLS instagram

5 COMMENTS

  1. They shouldn’t blame all the negative results on “texting.” How about they find out what type of diet these teens have on a daily basis? Have them find out how much exercise these teens are getting in a week. Having improper diet and lack of exercise (which MOST teens these days are experiencing) can have a major effect on their sleeping patterns, school problems, and difficulty in other tasks.

  2. the root to all sins may be from improper texting teens send to one another IE:boys to girls things one may never utter from there mouth is easely texted to a fellow texter and thats starts a slippary slope untill the sin itself

  3. EVERYONE BLAMES CELL PHONES AND TEXTING AND HANGING OUT AND EVERYTHING ELSE ON TEENS DEVELOPING UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS. MAYBE ITS ABOUT TIME WE TAKE A LOOK AT OUT OUR COMMUNITY.

    I WAS IN SCHOOL NOT TOO LONG AGO. I HAD FRIENDS WHO WERE NEVER TEMPTED TO DEVELOP THESE RELATIONSHIPS ADN THEY NEVER DID. THEN THERE WERE OTHER GIRLS WHO WERE SO INVOLVED IN TEXTING AND RELATIONSHIPS THAT THEY THOUGHT NOTHING WRONG OF IT.

    EACH PERSON IN THIS WORLD WAS CREATED WITH FREE WILL. NOT ONE PERSON IN THIS WORLD WAS CREATED TO MAKE TROUBLE. THE REASONS WHY TEENS MAKE THIS TYPE OF TROUBLE IS SIMPLY NOT BECAUSE THEY WANT TO.

    EVERY ACTION, EVERY WORD, EVERY THOUGHT HAS A REASON BEHIND IT. TEENS DONT REBEL FOR NO REASON AND TEENS DONT MAKE TROUBLE FOR NO REASON.

    IT IS THE JOB OF THE PARENTS, TEACHERS, PRINCIPALS TO UNDERSTAND THEIR STUDENTS. DO YOU TRULY BELIEVE THAT A CHILD/TEEN WOULD WANT TO BE BAD FOR NO REASON?? IF A PARENT SEES THAT A CHILD IS DOING THINGS ON A CELL PHONE THAT AREN’T SO GOOD AND THE PARENT TAKES AWAY THE CELL PHONE, IS THE PROBLEM SOLVED??? IF YOU SAY YES, THINK AGAIN. NOW I WILL BRING YOU IN TO THE WORLD OF TEENS WITH PROBLEMS.

    WE’LL TAKE ONE TEENAGE BOY. WHY IS HE MAKING TROUBLE?

    DID YOU EVER STOP AND THINK THAT MAYBE HE WAS MOLESTED WHEN HE WAS YOUNGER? OR MAYBE HE WASNT GIVEN ENOUGH LOVE AND ATTENTION WHEN HE WAS YOUNGER? PERHAPS HE WAS BULLIED IN SCHOOL? IT MAY EVEN BE THAT HIS REBBE DIDNT PICK UP ON HIS LEARNING DISABILITY AND THEREFORE HE NEVER LEARNT HOW TO READ PROPERLY. (SO WHY WHY WHY SHOULD HE WANT TO GO TO SHUL AND PRAY??? HE DOESNT KNOW HOW TO! ITS EMBARRASSING!)

    ALL I AM ASKING FOR HERE IS UNDERSTANDING. PARENTS, TEACHERS, PRINCIPALS ARE ALL VERY QUICK TO JUDGE KIDS AND QUICK TO GET THEM OUT OF THE SCHOOL “SO AS NOT TO BE A BAD INFLUENCE”. WHERE ARE OUR BRAINS??? IS KICKING A KID OUT OF SCHOOL GOING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM OR WILL IT JUST BE EVEN MORE DETRIMENTAL TO HIS/HER ALREADY SHOT SELF ESTEEM?

    SO IF A CHILD IS ACTING UP AND MAKING PROBLEMS AND “CHAS VSHALOM” TEXTING, DONT BE THAT FOOLISH PARENT OR TEACHER THAT POUNCES THE CHILD AND TAKES AWAY THE TEXTING WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING. YOU WERE GIVEN CHILDREN TO REPRIMAND WITH LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING; NOT WITH ANGER AND HARSHNESS.

    PARENTS AND TEACHERS MAKE THIS MISTAKE ALL THE TIME. BUT REMEMBER, DO YOU WANT TO BE A PART IN BUILDING A GOOD WORLD, OR ARE YOU SELF CENTERED ENOUGH TO DESTROY WHAT COULD’VE BEEN A GOOD WORLD?

    DO YOU WANT TO BE A PART IN BRINGING MASHIACH CLOSER, OR CHAS VSHALOM PUSHING IT FURTHER AWAY?

    (P.S. TEXTING CAN BE DESTRUCTIVE. I WONT DISAGREE WITH THAT. BUT FIND OUT THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM AND WHY YOU CHILD/STUDENT IS DOING WHAT HE/SHE IS DOING.)

Comments are closed.