Hyper-Networking Hurts Teens
Special Report - November 15, 2010
Excessive texting and time spent on social networking sites by teens is associated with an increased likelihood of participation in risk behaviors including smoking, drinking, fighting, and sexual activity, according to a new study. These increased risks are most heavily pronounced among students who engage in hyper-networkingdefined as spending more than three hours per school day on social networking websites. The study, “Hyper-texting and Hyper-Networking Pose New Health Risks for Teens,” was presented at the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) 138th Annual Meeting & Exposition in Denver on November 9. It explored the association between teens’ use of communication technology and engagement in poor health behaviors like smoking, drinking, and sexual activity.
Among the study’s findings were that nearly one in five teens reported engaging in hyper-textingdefined as more than 120 text messages per school dayand more than 11 percent of students reported engaging in hyper-networking. About one in 25 students qualified as both hyper-texters and hyper-networkers.
According to a press release from the APHA, hyper-texting teens are:
- 40 percent more likely to have tried cigarettes;
- Twice as 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.
The press release also stated that hyper-networking teens 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 partners.
“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 in the APHA press release. “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.”
Teen "Sexting" - FNC - Summer 2010
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