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Too much texting leads to problems, research finds

September 13
00:23 2010

Megan Jordre texts friends on her cell phone at her home

ABERDEEN, S.D.: Megan Jordre’s cell phone inbox can hold about 100 text messages, and she empties it about three times a day.

“I text a lot,” said Jordre, laughing.

Jordre, a junior at Aberdeen Central High School, doesn’t often stay up late at night texting. But she knows some kids who do.

That worries Byron Utter and Terry Stulken. Stulken said the nationwide issue can lead to problems, including lack of sleep.

Stulken, K-12 principal for Colman-Egan, and Utter, a former Langford and Mobridge educator, make up the Midwest Center for School Safety. The duo, who have about 65 years’ worth of educational experience between them, did about 30 workshops on issues such as cyberbullying and sexual harassment last year in schools across South Dakota with the support of the state Department of Education. They plan more this year.

Utter said some of their surveys have found there’s a tremendous amount of cell phone usage from about midnight to 2 a.m. And middle-school students are doing it as much as high-school students are.

Parents need to monitor phones and computers much, much more than they do, Stulken said. Utter said many parents nationwide really don’t know what’s going on with cell phones and computers.

“As adults, we gave these kids keys to a jet engine,” he said.

When children are sleep deprived, they can’t keep up at school, Stulken said. Then if they are also being cyberbullied or receiving inappropriate texts at night, it just increases the problem – now they can’t focus because of those issues, he said.

In Aberdeen public schools, while there are likely students who text and use the computer too much outside of school, officials aren’t overly concerned about the issue, said Becky Guffin, assistant superintendent. Guffin said students might have cell phones in school, but the phones are not to be seen or used during the school day. Facebook is blocked on school computers.

-AP

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