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The average adolescent sends almost two thousand text messages a month. For teens, texting isn’t a novel form of communication; it’s the default.
They contact their friends more by text than by phone or e-mail or instant-message or even face-to-face conversations. People who spent their high-school years chatting with friends on landlines are often dismissive of texting, as if it might be a phase one outgrows, but the form is unparalleled in its ability to relay information concisely.
The act of writing, even if the product consists of only a hundred and forty characters composed with one’s thumbs, forces a kind of real-time distillation of emotional chaos.
A substantial body of research confirms the efficacy of writing as a therapeutic intervention, and although tapping out a text message isn’t the same as keeping a diary, it can act as a behavioral buffer, providing distance between a person and intense, immediate, and often impulsive feelings.