Is your teen a hyper-texter?
Parents beware: There's a link between hyper-texting and having sex, taking drugs or abusing alcohol.
Teens who text 120 times a day or more - and there seems to be a lot of them - are more likely to have had sex or used alcohol and drugs than kids who don't send as many messages, according to provocative new research.

The study's authors aren't suggesting that "hyper-texting" leads to sex, drinking or drugs, but say it's startling to see an apparent link between excessive messaging and that kind of risky behaviour.

The study concludes that a significant number of teens are very susceptible to peer pressure and also have permissive or absent parents, said Dr. Scott Frank, the study's lead author.

"If parents are monitoring their kids' texting and social networking, they're probably monitoring other activities as well," said Frank, an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

The study was done at 20 public high schools in the Cleveland area last year, and is based on confidential paper surveys of more than 4200 students.

Beware of hyper-networking too

It found that about one in five students were hyper-texters and about one in nine are hyper-networkers - those who spend three or more hours a day on Facebook and other social networking websites.

Hyper-texting and hyper-networking were more common among girls, minorities, kids whose parents have less education and students from a single-mother household, the study found.

The study found those who text at least 120 times a day are nearly three-and-a-half times more likely to have had sex than their peers who don't text that much. Hyper-texters were also more likely to have been in a physical fight, binge drink, use illegal drugs or take medication without a prescription.

A Kaiser Family Foundation study found that about half of children ages 8 to 18 send text messages on a cell phone in a typical day. The texters estimated they average 118 texts per day. That study also found that only 14% of kids said their parents set rules limiting texting.

Do you keep track of your child's texting habits? Share your thoughts with us below.


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