Study links excessive texting among teens to alcohol, sex, and drugs

How many texts does your child send and receive in a day? Could an increasing number indicate an increasing risk for problems? And, could a certain number indicate your child is more likely to experiment with drugs or sex?

The AP reports, “Teens who text 120 times a day or more — and there seems to be a lot of them — are more likely to have had sex or used alcohol and drugs than kids who don’t send as many messages, according to provocative new research.”

The authors of the study “aren’t suggesting that ‘hyper-texting’ leads to sex, drinking or drugs, but say it’s startling to see an apparent link between excessive messaging and that kind of risky behavior.”

In “Vital Signs,” the New York Times reported that “the study by researchers at Case Western Reserve University, presented … at a meeting of the American Public Health Association in Denver, is based on data from questions posed last year to more than 4,000 students at 20 urban high schools in Ohio.”

Approximately “one-fifth sent at least 120 text messages a day, one-tenth were on social networks for three hours or more, and four percent did both.”

Notably, “that four percent were at twice the risk of nonusers for fighting, smoking, binge drinking, becoming cyber victims, thinking about suicide, missing school, and dozing off in class.”

“The hyper-texters were 3.5 more likely to have had sex than teens who texted less,” the Time “Healthland” blog reported. “The hyper-networkers, however, were not more likely to have had sex compared with the hyper-texters,” but “they did exceed the texters’ predilection for fighting, drinking and drug use,” according to the study authors.

So, here’s a simple tip. If you kid is a hyper-texter (texting more than 100 times per day), it may be time to sit down and have a long talk — before your kid gets into trouble.

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