This article presents an innovative method for capturing the content of adolescents' electronic communication on handheld devices: text messaging, e-mail, and instant messaging. In an ongoing longitudinal study, adolescents were provided with BlackBerry devices with service plans paid for by the investigators, and use of text messaging was examined when participants were 15 years old and in the 10th grade (N = 175; 81 girls). BlackBerries were configured so that the content of all text messages, e-mail messages, and instant messages was saved to a secure server and organized in a highly secure, searchable, online archive. This article describes the technology used to devise this method and ethical considerations. Evidence for validity is presented, including both information on use of text messaging to show that participants used these devices heavily and frequencies of profane and sexual language in a 2-day sample of text messaging to demonstrate that they were communicating openly.
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