Teens who send more than 120 texts a day are more likely to have had sex or used alcohol or illegal drugs than peers who text less, according to a study conducted at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. These “hyper-texters” were also more likely to get into physical fights, binge drink and misuse prescription drugs.
Despite the suggestive findings, researchers are quick to stress that they do not show that texting causes risky behavior, the Associated Press reports. Rather it may have more to do with peer pressure and lack of parental oversight.
“If parents are monitoring their kids’ texting and social networking, they’re probably monitoring other activities as well,” lead author Dr. Scott Frank, an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Case Western, told the AP. Frank is scheduled to present his findings Nov. 9 at the American Public Health Association in Denver.
In the survey of 4,200 Cleveland-area high school students, 20% were designated as hyper-texters; about 11% were considered hyper-networkers, who reported spending three or more hours per day on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. About 4% of students both hyper-texted and hyper-networked.