BOSTON (CBS) – I’m sure we all love our smartphones, and I am no exception.

There’s nothing like your Twitter feed to take your mind off reality for a few minutes, or hours.

But nobody loves their smartphones – or incorporates them more fully into their lives – than teenagers. And to the long list of risk factors that love affair has created – sexting, cyberbullying, and so on – add another one: sleep texting.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

According to Elizabeth Dowdell, a Villanova professor who studies the way the internet affects children, many kids now go to sleep with their phones left on. When a text comes in, they answer it while still so sleepy that they have no memory of doing so the next day.

Usually, she reports, their responses are gibberish or, sometimes, inappropriate. But that’s not the main issue.

Many teens are already falling short of the recommended eight-to-ten hours of sleep at night, and when sleep texting is disrupting their rest, it can lead to falling grades, depression, even obesity.

The professor doesn’t get into it, but I suspect sleep texting is just a symptom of a bigger problem. I call it smartphone invasion syndrome.

Have you ever sat in the next booth at a diner and watched four teenagers sit and play with their phones for an hour without directly addressing each other?

Have you tried to walk down Comm. Ave when classes let out and a sea of students with smartphone syndrome spills into the street, no one looking where they’re going?

I have, and I sense that, with no teenagers in my house anymore, I’m seeing just the tip of the iceberg.

Kids with cellphones were bad enough. But now that phones are multi-function entertainment centers, and no one ever sits quietly by themselves anymore, something is up that will lead to no good.

Sleep texting, today; tomorrow, someone will be selling ad time in your dreams.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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