Texting has become the most popular form of communication among people under 30. One recent study found that students spend less than six minutes, on average, on schoolwork before being distracted by social media and texting. For a small percentage of teens, texting becomes compulsive—they may try to text less and fail or feel anxiety and frustration if they are kept away from texting. A new study from the American Psychological Association evaluated how 211 girls and 192 boys communicated via text and found notable gender differences in overall behavior and compulsive use:

  • Teenage girls use texting for social connection, whereas boys mostly use it to convey information.
  • Boys and girls send about the same number of texts every day, but girls are more likely to become compulsive texters.
  • Teenage girls who compulsively text see a steeper decline in their grades than their compulsive male counterparts. The researchers suggest the social content of girls' messages may be more likely to distract them from their academic tasks.
  • Compulsive texting also appears to affect girls' mental health more than boys', perhaps because girls are more prone to text about negative feelings and to ruminate on those feelings.