Blackberry Study Looks at how Youths Text

Texting is one of the most popular forms of communication among teens. “According to a large-scale survey on teens and texting conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 75% of 12- to 17-year-olds own cell phones, 72% of all adolescents (88% of cell phone users) use text messaging regularly, 75% of teenagers who use cell phones have service plans for unlimited text messaging, and 54% contact friends daily via text messaging,” said Marion K. Underwood of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences of the University of Texas at Dallas. But this rapid form of e-communication can also impair teens’ ability to communicate in person, and put children at risk for cyber-bullying and stranger victimization. “However, text messaging may also provide important developmental opportunities for close communication with peers, micro-social planning, communicating about schoolwork, and exchanging Information,” added Underwood. Because there has been very little research on the content of teens’ text messages, Underwood and her colleagues recently conducted a study to find out just what types of messages teens sent. She said, “Examining the content of adolescents’ text messaging could reveal much about their developing social relationships with peers, emerging romantic relationships, communication with parents during this period of increasing autonomy, relationships with authority figures, and the extent to which youths communicate with strangers.”

One hundred and seventy-five 15-year-olds were each given a Blackberry with unlimited text messaging. The teens were assessed annually as part of a larger study, but the results of the text study were compiled from three months of data collection. The researchers found that both boys and girls sent and received over 50 texts daily, some of which contained profane language and sexual content. Underwood added, “This information could have important policy implications for how much access adolescents should have to these electronic devices—for example, whether adolescents should be allowed to text-message on their cell phones at school, the extent to which parents might want to monitor electronic communication, and from whom youths need to be protected against electronic victimization.”

Underwood, M. K., Rosen, L. H., More, D., Ehrenreich, S. E., & Gentsch, J. K. (2011, October 17). The BlackBerry Project: Capturing the Content of Adolescents’ Text Messaging. Developmental Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0025914

© Copyright 2011 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Mad Mom

    Mad Mom

    October 22nd, 2011 at 5:19 AM

    My kids drive me crazy with all of the texting! They can’t even have a real phone conversation with me or even their friends because of all of the texting. It is almost like that and email are the only forms of communicating that they have mastered or that they care to use anymore. I am like anyone else, I like to text too. But when you need details and the conversation is a little more in depth sometimes the spoken word is still the best road to take. And my kids don’t get that!

  • Paul


    October 23rd, 2011 at 5:24 AM

    What’s with all the fuss?

    This is how kids talk to us and to each other these days.

    I say be happy that they are still talking to you at all!

  • em


    October 23rd, 2011 at 5:46 AM

    I have 348 contacts in my phone-book and I text over 250 of them at least once a week.Do you really think I could maintain that kind of contact(at least with old friends) if not for text messaging?Not everybody needs to be spoken to.Just a message every now and then to enquire of them does a lot for friends.

  • vic parker

    vic parker

    October 24th, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    texting has become a huge part of our lives and although it provides an excellent and efficient means of communication it does have its own drawbacks just like anything else in the world..

    youngsters use it a lot more than older people and they need to be educated about its harmful effects.knowledge is power and it can come in handy for a lot of people.

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of's Terms and Conditions of Use.

* Indicates required field.

GoodTherapy uses cookies to personalize content and ads to provide better services for our users and to analyze our traffic. By continuing to use this site you consent to our cookies.