According to this article, youth ages 12-17 are texting 20% more messages daily than they were just 6 years ago, in 2009. Youth texting behaviors have increased from a median of 50 messages per day in 2009 to 60 messages per day now. That’s about 1,800 text messages per month! That’s the median… The article describes how the AVERAGE amount of texts sent by teens per month is 3,417. That’s a lot of texting!!
In all honesty, these findings are not all that shocking. Anybody who is even slightly socially aware can tell that texting is becoming a more and more prominent means of communication–especially among youth. We often wonder how to reach the youth of our culture, how to get them engaged, or how to make an impact on them and develop them into leaders. We can start by communicating on their level.
If 75% of teenagers report that they are active texters, it seems obvious that adults who want to influence them should join in the frenzy. Granted, texting can be a source of a lot of drama and headaches, but it can also be a great tool when used correctly! Young people need people older than them to show them how to live. They need examples to follow. They need mentors.
Whether we like it or not, this is the way of the world right now. Adults have to be willing to adapt and to reach the youth at their level. We have to be understanding and empathetic. The enormity of the amount of text messaging done by youth opens up a whole new world of issues that we must be willing to address and tackle. Many of these teenagers don’t know how to deal with the issues; we must be the guiding hand that helps them along.
But how can we help them if we don’t understand how they communicate?