Studies are always fun to read, especially when they point a stick at teenagers. According to a new study by the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, a whole bunch of teenage problems can be linked to ‘hyper-texting’ and ‘hyper-networking,’ two words they may have just invented. If a teen sends 120 texts a day or is on sites like Facebook or Twitter for more than 3 hours a day, he/she is more likely to engage in sex, drinking, smoking, drugs, and fighting. Worse, 10-20 percent of teens are doing this ‘hyper-socializing.’
“The startling results of this study suggest that when left unchecked texting and other widely popular methods of staying connected can have dangerous health effects on teenagers,” said Scott Frank, the study’s lead researcher. “This should be a wake-up call for parents to not only help their children stay safe by not texting and driving, but by discouraging excessive use of the cell phone or social websites in general.”
Check out this list of percentages via CNN.
Hyper-texting teens are:
- Two times more likely to have tried alcohol
- Nearly three-and-a-half 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
Hyper-networking teens 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
The study surveyed more than 4,200 students from 20 public high schools in Cleveland, Ohio last year. It was presented at a Denver meeting of the American Public Health Association.
Links aren’t causes
Startling statistics, but there is no evidence that texting or networking causes any of these problems. Teens that are more likely to succumb to peer pressure and partake in smoking, drinking, sex, and drug use are also likely to feel more pressured to communicate with their friends more often. Today it’s texting and the Internet; years ago it was phone calls; and before that it was cruising around in cars. We can’t wait to see the study that comes out once researchers figure out that teens are actually hyper-networking while they hyper-text!
Teens are, by definition, kids who are trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in as they move toward adulthood. Banning them from excessive phone use won’t stop them from having sex. Actually, it might do the opposite. At least parents know when teens are on the computer for three hours, they aren’t knocking boots.
In the last couple months, we’ve seen several studies of this kind. We now know that teens send an average of 3,339 texts a month, often while driving, and that 72 percent of parents monitor their kids’ online activity. Let’s hope those parents are monitoring their teens’ offline activity as well.