Have a Teen Girl? Compulsive Texting Could Be Hurting Her Grades

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By Keith Wagstaff

Some teen girls become addicted to texting, a habit that can seriously hurt their grades, a new study says.

It's pretty common for teens to communicate through text messages: 63 percent of them do it on a daily basis, according to a previous Pew Research study, compared to 39 percent who do the same with voice calls. But when does it become a problem?

"Compulsive texting is more complex than frequency of texting," said study co-author Kelly Lister-Landman in a statement.

"It involves trying and failing to cut back on texting, becoming defensive when challenged about the behavior, and feeling frustrated when one can't do it."

The study, which was published last week in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture, involved more than 400 eighth- and 11th-graders from the same school district.

What the researchers found is that some teens were losing sleep because they were staying up late to text. They became preoccupied with texting, sometimes lying to cover up how much they did it.

Overall, compulsive texting had a negative effect on their grades — but only if they were girls. It's not completely clear why that is the case, but it could be due to differences in how the two sexes communicate, with girls "more likely than boys to ruminate with others, or engage in obsessive, preoccupied thinking" when texting.