As a parent, it’s your duty to protect your children from life’s dangers: Don’t lick that electrical outlet, eat this not that, stay away from dance music, etc. Well, here’s a new one for guys with daughters: Don’t get addicted to texting.
A research team led by Kelly M. Lister-Landman of Delaware County Community College surveyed 403 students in grades 8 through 11 in a small Midwest town. Their findings show that, though girls and boys text with about the same frequency, girls are more likely to have texting affect them academically. “It appears that it is the compulsive nature of texting, rather than sheer frequency, that is problematic,” Lister-Landman tells the American Psychological Association.Later, she spoke specifically to the gender difference her team found: “It may be that the nature of the texts girls send and receive is more distracting, thus interfering with their academic adjustment.” It could also be that boy texts resemble, “Bro. Pizza. Tonight.”, while girl texts navigate the emotional ambiguity of social politics: “What do you think Alice meant by calling our friendship ‘chaotic?'”
“Borrowing from what we know about Internet communication, prior research has shown that boys use the Internet to convey information while girls use it for social interaction and to nurture relationships,” the researcher says. “Girls in this developmental stage also are more likely than boys to ruminate with others, or engage in obsessive, preoccupied thinking, across contexts.”
A separate 2012 study found that, on average, adolescents send and receive an alarming 167 texts per day, with 63 percent of teens saying they text every day compared to just 39 percent saying they make voice calls on a daily basis. Combating the problem seems simple: Make your daughters use a landline. They’ll protest at first, but then thank you when they graduate from Harvard.