A Few Thousand Text Messages Later…

my AT&T app icon, apple iphone ios 9My 19yo daughter and I have somewhat of a running argument about cellphone usage. She’s in a long-term and long-distance relationship with a boy who’s across the country, so of course they rely on modern communication to stay in touch. But just like most children of her generation, she’s rarely without her ubiquitous iPhone in her hand, texting and using the device seemingly at every turn.

We discuss it, we talk about healthy boundaries, we talk about being present at meals, during discussions, while driving to and from places, and so on, and she assures me that she really isn’t using her phone that much and that she texts “pretty much the same amount you do”.

Enter the MyAT&T app, which offers an easy way to learn more about your cellphone usage. We’re sharing a data plan so I can see what she’s doing. And in the last 26 days? Well, turns out we really aren’t using our phones to text at the same rate. The stats don’t lie:

my at&t text messages by person pie chart

Where this gets more amazing to me is when I looked at the total message count. This is with 4 days left in our monthly plan schedule too:

7046 text messages my at&t app iphone

If we do the math, it’s pretty impressive: 7046 messages x 94.8 means that she sent and received 6,681 messages in 26 days. That works out to 257 messages/day or, if we assume that she sleeps for 8 hours, 16 messages/hour for every waking hour of the previous month. Which, weirdly, isn’t really that many messages.

The problem, of course, is that there are plenty of hours in the day where she can’t text, like when she’s driving, but still, that’s a whole lotta texting.

The reality is that at 19 it’s her journey, her life, of course, so there’s nothing I can or should “do” about her incessant texting with her boyfriend other than set what I believe are healthy parameters about non-usage during meals, etc, but it is a more than a bit frustrating to try and engage with someone who finds that bright little screen so alluring. Perhaps this is part of the legacy of decades of technological development, a generation that wants instant, pervasive connectivity? But what about in 5-10 years? Or 30?

Meanwhile, I think I need to send her a text about this article…

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