Updated: Wednesday, 17 Nov 2010, 3:48 PM EST
Published : Monday, 15 Nov 2010, 7:14 AM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Texting as a way of communication is taking over and kids are at the center of this revolution.
We're tackling texting on Daybreak this week.
We're looking at what parents should know but may not, about texting - from how to decipher the language to how your kids are forcing all of us - including their schools to change.
Joshua Rooney, a Westfield senior, is an example of the explosive growth of texting.
“My parents, they just are blown away when they get the cell phone bill at the end of the month and they see that I sent 8,000 messages a month,” Rooney told 24-Hour News 8 anchor Debby Knox.
Eight thousand per month, that's more than double the national average of 3,339 per month, according to a Nielsen survey.
“I'm used to it and I know my friends are used to being able to text each other all the time,” said Rooney.
When asked if he knew anyone who he thought might be addicted to texting, he admitted that list would include him. He said he texts “from the second I wake up in the morning until the second I go to bed.”
The Pew Internet Research group, who studies this trend, says teenaged boys actually text far less than their female peers.
Their research in 2010 also found that 72% of teens are texting. That’s up from 51% in 2006.
If it's taking over our teens lives, it's certainly taking over our schools.
Westfield High School agreed to let 24-Hour News 8 cameras in the school to see how they are tackling texting.
A quick survey inside Westfield’s cafeteria found that nearly all kids had cell phones and they all said they like to text.
“Pretty much everyone I know, yeah,” said student Ahren Alexander.
“I think it's sometimes easier to text than call someone,” said senior Kaylee Dolen.
Schools hear from parents who say the phones may be a way to communicate, but often cut off communications between parents and their kids.
“Parents will come and will say yes, I know the cell phone is a problem,” explained Westfield Assistant Principal Bill Naas. “I drive my kid to school and we have no conversation. They're on their cell phone texting they get out and I pick them up and they are doing the same thing.”
Naas says parents aren't the only ones frustrated with teen texting. Teachers are furious. That’s caused some schools to change policies.
“A couple of years ago we had a policy of no cell phones in school, no usage at all,” Naas explained. “That was somewhat of a losing battle.”
Westfield is one high school that went from a total ban on cell phones to allowing them to be used between classes and during lunch. Naas says the approach is working.
“We came up with a compromise that the students could use the cell phones during passing periods and lunch, but they understood that the 70 minute class time was off limits,” said Naas.
Just last month, Franklin Central High School changed it strict no cell phone policy to adopt one like Westfield’s.
They are joined by Perry and Pike Township as well as Zionsville schools allowing limited use.
Carmel-Clay Schools allow cell phones at the high school level but not in middle school.
Cell phones are banned at all Wayne, Washington and Lawrence Township Schools as well as Avon. At Hamilton Southeastern schools, phones are only allowed for the first seven minutes of the day.
The schools that have changed policies say the number of confiscated phones has dropped after allowing cell phones during lunch and between classes.
Tuesday morning starting at 6:30, we’ll look at texting and driving. We’ll look at Indiana’s only law relating to texting and driving and see if it’s working.