Behavior: Too Much Texting Is Linked to Other Problems
By RONI CARYN RABIN
Published: November 9, 2010
A study suggests that the high school students who spend the most time texting or on social networking Web sites (or both) are at risk for worrisome behaviors including smoking, risky sex, depression, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse and absenteeism.
The study, by researchers at Case Western Reserve University, was presented last week at a meeting of the American Public Health Association in Denver. It is based on data from questions posed last year to more than 4,000 students at 20 urban high schools in Ohio. About 20 percent sent at least 120 text messages a day, 10 percent were on social networking sites for three hours or more, and 4 percent did both.
Those 4 percent were at twice the risk of nonusers for fighting, smoking, binge drinking, becoming victims of cyberbullying, thinking about suicide, missing school and dozing off in class
The researchers said that texting and social networking did not necessarily cause those problems.
But the lead author, Dr. Scott Frank, said: “It does make sense that these technologies make it easier for kids to fall into a trap of working too hard to fit in. If they’re working that hard to fit in through their social networks, they’re also trying to fit in through other behaviors they perceive as popular, like smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, having sex” and other risky activity.