Teenagers and texting go hand in hand, but can kids text too much? According to researchers, the answer is yes.
Researchers at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine discovered that teenagers who text 120 or more messages during a school day are at risk for troubling behaviors.
“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, lead researcher on the study.
So, how many teenagers fit the profile of being a “hyper-texter” (120 or more messages each school day)? 20 percent.
What alarmed researchers even more were the risky behaviors associated with teenagers who spent more than three hours each school day on social networking sites. Twelve percent of teenagers fit that profile. These teenagers were:
• 62 percent more likely to have tried cigarettes
• 79 percent more likely to have tried alcohol
• 69 percent more likely to be binge drinkers
• 84 percent more likely to have used illicit drugs
• 94 percent more likely to have been in a physical fight
• 69 percent more likely to have had sexual intercourse
• 60 percent more likely to have reported having four or more sexual partners
I know teenagers who these researchers call “hyper-texters” and “hyper-networkers.” Besides dabbling in more risky behaviors (such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and having sexual intercourse), I’ve also seen them cut classes, earn low grades, and even consider dropping out of high school. They tend to live in families where parents don’t set boundaries or spend much time with them.
Parents: it’s important to set limits on the amount of time our kids spend on their cell phones, hanging out on the computer, watching TV, playing video games, and using other digital devices. Our kids need to know what’s important—working hard in school, being a good friend, spending time with family, and doing extracurricular activities they’re passionate about.
How do you set limits in your household?
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, “Hyper-Texting and Hyper-Networking Pose New Health Risks for Teens,” news release, November 9, 2010.
American Public Health Association’s 138th Annual Meeting and Exposition, “224927: Hyper-Texting and Hyper-Networking: A New Health Risk Category for Teens?” program presentation description, November 9, 2010.