Mobile phones have become an integral part of adolescent culture for expressing identity and style. They are vital in most young people's social lives for arranging meetings with friends, chatting up a potential girlfriend/ boyfriend, and also for getting information via the internet. Mobile phones also provide a sense of security for young people and their parents (30). In 2005, a U.K. study found that 97% of females and 92% of males aged 11-21 have access to a mobile phone (31) Texting was by far the most common form of communication with 9 out of the 10 young people texting daily and 54% texting more than five times a day. Males were more likely to talk to their friends on their phone than females. Texting is preferred for nearly all social activities and is regarded as being more private.
Since mobile phones play such an important part in young people's lives, the potential of text messaging in the hospital environment should be considered with respect to the development of peer relationships and support. Health professionals can once again be instrumental in helping to establish relationships between young people in gaining their permission to exchange phone numbers as well as encouraging them to bring their phones to group activities where opportunities may arise for the young people themselves to exchange numbers.
The "Sweet Talk" project (32) has demonstrated the usefulness of text messaging in improving adherence in a population of adolescents with diabetes. Similarly Pal (33) demonstrated its usefulness with an adult population of patients with arthritis, offering exciting opportunities for future developments in adolescent rheumatology.
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