Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 9, 2011

Text messaging: one step forward for phone companies, one leap backward for adolescence

Vanessa LaBode
From the journal


The increasing popularity of text messaging has made this mode of communication the preferred interaction portal for teens. Virtually every teenager has a cell phone with an un­limited text messaging plan. Text messaging easily facilitates communication between individuals without much interruption into daily life. After administering a survey to ten early adolescents and ten late adolescents, the effects of this technology are manifested across many developmental characteristics. Communication, responsibility, and relationships all seem to be negatively influenced by the use of text messaging. This pattern is seen in both early and late adolescent groups. Developmentally, different characteristic features categorize early and late adolescence, yet it seems the use of text messaging is propelling early adolescence forward by removing the consequences of awkward face-to-face interactions. This early onset of late adolescence results in having very young teens, 12 and 13 year olds, showing increased interest in romantic relation­ships and sexual exploration. The anxiety and uneasiness felt by early teens about speaking with others has led to deficits in the ability to communicate in social settings, which could prove troublesome later. This study looks at only a few developmental issues associated with text messaging use among teens. It would be relevant and appropriate to study other ways that text messaging affects our youth in addition to exploring the more long-term effects of using this technology.

Corresponding author: Vanessa LaBode, BA, James J. Peters VA Medical Center, 130 West Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, New York, NY 10468, USA

Received: 2010-8-3
Revised: 2010-9-7
Accepted: 2010-9-17
Published Online: 2011-03-09
Published Online: 2011-3-1
Published in Print: 2011-3-1

©2011 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York

Scroll Up Arrow