The Short of It
If your teen girl is constantly texting, you might want to rein her in—a new study published by the American Psychological Association found that compulsive texting led to poor grades for girls. (There was no similar correlation with boys.)
Researchers studied a group of 403 students in the Midwest, asking them questions about both their texting behavior and their academic performance. The researchers found that girls who were compulsively texting (which they identified by a number of factors, such as being preoccupied with texting and feeling defensive or secretive about the amount of time spent texting) ended up with poor academic performance. Interestingly, boys, who text just as often as their female counterparts, don't appear to experience the same negative academic impact.
Researchers believe that this can be chalked up to the difference in what boys and girls are texting. "Prior research has shown that boys use the Internet to convey information while girls use it for social interaction and to nurture relationships," says the study's lead researcher, Dr. Kelly Lister-Landman of Delaware County Community College. "Girls in this developmental stage also are more likely than boys to ruminate with others, or engage in obsessive, preoccupied thinking, across contexts. Therefore, it may be that the nature of the texts girls send and receive is more distracting, thus interfering with their academic adjustment."
Well, this definitely gives me pause, as I just splurged on a phone for my tween daughter. So far, there's not an issue, but I'll definitely monitor her texting and cellphone use—and at the first sign that her grades are heading south, she'll be losing her phone privileges.