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According to a new study by the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, hyper-texting and hyper-networking teens are prone to risky behaviors like smoking, drinking, fighting, and sexual activity. What does that mean exactly? They send more than 120 text messages per day or spend more than three hours per school day on social networking sites. Sound extreme? It's not. In the study, nearly 20 percent of the Midwestern teens surveyed qualified as hyper-texters and 11.5 percent were hyper-networkers.
Finding this correlation between hyper-texting/hyper-networking and the likelihood of engaging in other unhealthy behaviors could actually be an alert to parents. Of course, no parent should immediately accuse their hyper-texting teen of drug abuse, but maybe they can recognize the need to ask questions. The results were pretty eye-opening; these “texters” were found to be:
- two times more likely to have tried alcohol;
- over three times more likely to have had sexual intercourse;
- around 40 percent more likely to have tried cigarettes, used illegal drugs, or binge drink;
- 55 percent more likely to have been in a physical fight; and
- 90 percent more likely to report four or more sexual partners.
Hyper-networking teens were:
- 79 percent more likely to have tried alchohol;
- 69 percent more likely to have had sexual intercourse
- 62 percent more likely to have tried cigarettes;
- 84 percent more likely to have tried illegal drugs;
- 69 percent more likely to binge drink;
- a whopping 94 percent more likely to have been in a physical fight; and
- 60 percent more likely to report four or more sexual partners.
The study also found that minorities, fatherless households and children of parents with lower levels of education are more likely to hyper-text or hyper-network, so it could be argued that those same factors affect a teen’s propensity to do drugs and engage in promiscuous behavior -- which is why it’s important to note that the study does not claim to prove cause and effect. But with numbers like that, a talk with your teen couldn’t hurt. If you can’t get him to sit down with you, maybe try texting them.
Do you put limits on your kid's texting and social networking? Chime in below!