Secrets of teen text addicts revealed
Teenagers who send more than 120 text messages a day are more likely to have had sex and have tried drugs and alcohol, new research revealed yesterday.
Excessive texting among teens, dubbed "hyper-texting" by researchers and defined as texting more than 120 messages per school day, is linked to a higher occurrence of behaviours such as smoking, drinking, fighting and sexual relationships, according to a study published by the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio.
Researchers surveyed more than 4,200 students at 20 public high schools in the Cleveland area last year and found that hyper-texting was reported by 19.8pc of teens, many of whom were female, from lower socio-economic status, a minority background, and a single-mother home.
Compared to non-heavy texters, hyper-texting teens were 40pc more likely to have tried cigarettes, twice as likely to have tried alcohol, 43pc more likely to be binge drinkers and 41pc more likely to have used illicit drugs than their counterparts who did not text as much.
More than half were more likely to have been in a physical fight, nearly three-and-a-half times more likely to have had sex and 90pc more likely to report four or more sexual partners, the research showed.
Dr Scott Frank, lead researcher on the study, said parents should be aware of the dangerous health effects unchecked texting can have.
"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," he said.
"This should be a wake-up call for parents to not only help their children stay safe. . . but by discouraging excessive use of the cell phone or social websites in general."
The research also looked at hyper-networking -- spending more than three hours per school day on social networking websites -- which was reported by 11.5pc of students.
The research found this group was more likely to suffer from stress, depression, suicide, substance abuse, fighting, and poor sleep.