– Texting while driving can be a deadly combination for teenagers.
Yet, new data released today reveal that the dangers of excessive texting among
teens are not limited to the road. Hyper-texting and hyper-networking are now
giving rise to a new health risk category for this age group.
Researchers, who presented
the findings at the American Public Health Association’s 138th Annual Meeting
& Exposition in Denver, surveyed a cross
section of high school students from the Midwest
and assessed whether use of communication technology could be associated with
poor health behaviors, including smoking, drinking and sexual activity.
According to the research,
hyper-texting, defined as texting more than 120 messages per day on school days,
was reported by 19.8 percent of teens surveyed, many of whom were female, from
lower socioeconomic status, minority and had no father in the home. Drawing
from the data, teens who are hyper-texters are 40 percent more likely to have
tried cigarettes, two times more likely to have tried alcohol, 43 percent more
likely to be binge drinkers, 41 percent more likely to have used illicit drugs,
55 percent more likely to have been in a physical fight, nearly three-and-a-half
times more likely to have had sex and 90 percent more likely to report four or
more sexual partners.
hyper-networking, defined as spending more than three hours per school day on
social networking web sites, was reported
by 11.5 percent of students and associated with higher odds ratios for
stress, depression, suicide, substance
use, fighting, poor sleep, poor academics, television watching and parental
permissiveness. Teens who are hyper-networkers are 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 sex and 60 percent more likely to report four or more sexual
“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, MD, MS, lead researcher on the study. “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.”
Hyper-texting and hyper-networking: A new health risk category for teens?
Date: Tuesday, November 9,
2010: 3:35 PM
Researcher: Scott Frank,
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