Is Compulsive Texting Like Gambling Addiction?
Do you know someone who is so distracted by texting that they skip sleep?
According to a study published in Psychology of Popular Media Culture, there may be a new disorder called “compulsive texting,” which researchers compared to gambling.
The research team administered a questionnaire to 211 eighth-grade students and 192 high school juniors in a semirural town in the Midwest to assess whether they were compulsive texters. The 14-item questionnaire is one that had been adapted from a pathological gambling scale to identify compulsive Internet use in a previous study.
Of the 403 students who participated in the study, 47 said they did not text every day and so they were excluded from the analysis. Among the remaining 356 students, girls were far more likely to be compulsive texters. About 12 percent of the girls — one in eight — were identified as compulsive texters, while only about 3 percent of the boys were. Most of the compulsive texters sent more than 100 messages a day.
The results showed that compulsive texting was associated with poor academic adjustment for the girls but not for the boys. The researchers hypothesized that this could be because girls’ texts may be focused more on relationships and emotions, which could, in turn, cause more anxiety for the girls and lose their focus on school.
The researchers advise parents of potential compulsive texters to insist that their kids put phones away while doing homework and enforce other “screen-free” times while at home.