By CNN correspondent Deborah Feyerick with senior producer Dana Garrett
(CNN) – When seventh grader Cayleb Coyne wants to send a text in class, he slips his cell phone into his backpack and pretends to be looking for a piece of paper. Texting between classes has an added benefit. "It's harder to get caught in the hallways then it is in the class," says the soft spoken boy.
Coyne, who says he sends about 300 texts a day, has had his cell phone confiscated six times in six months. He's not the only one despite constant reminders from his principal at Haverstraw Middle School, Avis Collier Shelby. "Your cell phones are supposed to be where? Yes, in your locker. Not in class!" she announces over the schools public address system.
And yet class is exactly where they end up. According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, even in schools that ban cell phone use nearly 60% of all students admit texting-during-class – a growing problem facing schools across the country.
What to do? Michael Rich, a media expert and pediatrician who calls himself a "mediatrician" and counsels parents about teens and technology on his blog askthemediatriacian.com says, "I don't think we're going to stop the tsunami," he says. "Pandora's Box is open here. The technologies are here. What we need to do is to take control of them instead of letting them control us" – which is exactly what educators at the Haverstraw Middle School are attempting.
"You can't put the genie back in the bottle," says Principal Shelby, who is overseeing a pilot program that has distributed 75 cell phones to students in the fifth grade. Texting and calling has been disabled and Internet sites are filtered. The phones are used for things like note taking and research.
Editor's Note: For most teenagers, cell phone texting has become a lifeline, but is it an addiction? Ask many parents and they'll say yes. Today in our original series, "Texting 2 Much?" our Deb Feyerick talks to teens with excessive texting habits. Tomorrow on American Morning, we talk to teachers to find out what some schools are doing to keep kids' fingers off their phones.
By CNN Correspondent Deborah Feyerick with producer Dana Garrett
(CNN) – Get a group of teenage girls together anywhere in America and chances are they'll talk about other girls, boys and what to do for the weekend. Oh, they'll also text. A lot. Even if they're sitting right next to each other, the cell phone is out, the fingers moving quickly over the tiny keyboard.
"I don't think it's being addicted to my cell phone," says sophomore Sara Marshall. "It's the need to be talking with my friends and the cell phone is just the way I do that."
Marshall, who lives in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, says she sends a few hundred texts a day, the same amount as her friends. On average, teens send upwards of 3,200 texts a month, according to the Neilson Company.
A new study by the Pew Research Center finds, when it comes to teens, texting beats all other means of communication hands down, including face-to-face, e-mail, instant messaging and talking on the phone.