Texting Hurts Girls' Grades More Than Boys'

Does too much texting impact a teen's schoolwork? A new study suggests the answer.


There's no denying that texting is a major way that teenagers communicate today. Sixty-three percent of teens text on a daily basis, and on average, they send 167 messages day. Even though phone-to-phone communication has become the norm, it still has the potential to escalate into worrisome territory. A study by the American Psychological Association recently found that compulsive texting can be detrimental to teens' academic performance, and the behavior has an even bigger impact on female students.

So what exactly is compulsive texting? It's not just the frequency with which a person texts; it's when they try but fail to cut back on sending messages, and become defensive if someone tries to stop them. They also find themselves frustrated when they're not allowed to text.

Researchers were determined to find out whether compulsive texting impacts teens' abilities to complete tasks and perform well in school, so they surveyed more than 400 students in grades 8-11. Based on the data gathered, it was only girls who had a negative connection between compulsive texting and school performance. 

In a press release, researchers noted that while girls don't necessarily text more than boys, they do text for different purposes—usually to foster relationships, while boys use it to share need-to-know information.

The study's lead researcher, Kelly M. Lister-Landman, PhD, of Delaware Community College, explains:

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.

Regardless of the gender difference, it's safe to say that both guys and girls can benefit from a little less screentime. Not only do phones impact teens' grades, but they also pose a risk to their bone health.

If you know any teens who need to cut back on their texting habits, check out our "Help! I Can't Put Down My Phone" story. Plus, we've got tips for how to help teenagers set a tech curfew.