Modern technology can be wonderful. It has never been easier to stay in touch and communicate with friends and family. With texting and social networking, anyone can communicate messages, pictures, internet links and videos within seconds.
To All This Texting And
According to a November 10, 2010 CNN article, “A new study by the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine links poor health behaviors — including smoking, drinking and sexual activity — to hyper texting and hyper networking [teenagers].”
The article defines “hyper texting” as sending more than 120 texts per school day, and “hyper networking” as spending more than 3 hours per school day on social networking sites (like Facebook).
According to the article, the study found nearly 20% of Midwestern teens surveyed were “hyper texters.”
“hyper texter” teens are:
- 2 times more likely to have tried alcohol.
- Nearly 3.5 times more likely to have had sex.
- 40 percent more likely to have tried cigarettes.
- 41 percent more likely to have used illicit drugs.
- 43 percent more likely to be binge drinkers.
- 55 percent more likely to have been in a physical fight.
- 90 percent more likely to report four or more sexual partners.
The article also stated 11.5% Midwestern teens are “hyper networkers.” They are:
- 60 percent more likely to report four or more sexual partners.
- 62 percent more likely to have tried cigarettes.
- 69 percent more likely to be binge drinkers.
- 69 percent more likely to have had sex.
- 79 percent more likely to have tried alcohol.
- 84 percent more likely to have used illicit drugs.
- 94 percent more likely to have been in a physical fight.
Here’s an important note from the author of the study: “We are not saying texting causes these behaviors… We can recognize that these kinds of connections… may be facilitating or enabling these kinds of behaviors, but we certainly can’t think of (the online connections) as causing them.”
So, if your teenager is a hyper texter or hyper networker, taking away their phone or internet access may not reduce their risks in the above categories but they are an indicator that you should pay more attention to your child’s activities.