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Teens Are Texting Maniacs -- Duh!

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American teens sent and received an average of 2,272 text messages per month in the fourth quarter of 2008. Gulp!

teens looking at their cellphones

Vivian Manning-Schaffel: Teens have had the burning desire to incessantly discuss each minute detail of their lives since they carved gossip into the nearest rock. But with texting, they've got a new and improved way to brief each other on the day's deets, down to each bodily function.

So of course it makes absolutely perfect sense that teens are leading the text frenzy. According to an article in The New York Times, American teenagers sent and received an average of 2,272 text messages per month in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to the Nielsen Company -- almost 80 messages a day, more than double the average of a year earlier.

The article cites a recent survey of students at two California high schools and found that many were routinely sending hundreds of texts every day. That's one every few minutes! It goes on to say that this phenomenon is beginning to worry physicians and psychologists, who say all this texting leads to a bevy of stress-related symptoms, such as anxiety, distraction in school, falling grades, repetitive stress injury, and sleep deprivation.

Meanwhile, New York magazine recently published a cover piece in defense of the manic pace of texting and social media, arguing that the next generation of attenders, the so-called "net-gen" or "digital natives," may be unable to concentrate on a complex task from beginning to end, but possess the dexterity to conduct 34 conversations simultaneously across six different media, switching between attentional targets in a way that's been considered impossible.

Hey -- I can change a diaper, help my other kid with his homework, make dinner, and text my husband simultaneously. So I guess I'm not a total fogey.

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