Do you know how much texting and social networking your teen is doing? You may want to sit up and play closer attention to how your child communicates online – not just looking for “red flags,” but at the overall amount of time they spend doing it.
Researchers from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that excessive texters and social networkers were more likely to drink, do drugs, and be sexually active.
According to the study, teens who sent more than 120 texts per school day were:
- 3.5 times more likely to have had sex
- 90% more likely to report four or more sexual partners
- twice as likely to have tried alcohol
- 55% more likely to have been in a physical fight
- 43% more likely to be binge drinkers
- 41% more likely to have used illicit drugs
- 40% more likely to have tried cigarettes
Teens who spent more than 3 hours per school day on social networking sites were:
- 94% more likely to have been in a physical fight
- 84% more likely to have used illicit drugs
- 79% more likely to have tried alcohol
- 69% more likely to be binge drinkers
- 69% more likely to have had sex
- 62% more likely to have tried cigarettes
- 60% more likely to report four or more sexual partners
Nobody is suggesting that you make your kids stop texting and social networking altogether – in fact, it would be a little silly to insist that texting causes binge drinking or fighting. But it does suggest that there is a correlation between the amount of time teens are left to their own (electronic) devices and the risky behaviors they engage in.
Just one more thing to think about when you discuss limits on texting and Internet use with your kids.
Understanding, how one's children are using technology is an important part of raising digital children today. Studies show that most parents would be surprised by how their children use technology compared to how they think
their children use technology. Monitoring services are now an important part of the modern parenting toolbox. Our service is an online and mobile service which helps parents protect their children from bullies and predators and helps them to manage their kids' privacy and reputation online. The service also helps parents understand how their kids are using social networking sites and their mobile phone and provides clarity into what is going on within their digital worlds.Jenny Evans is a mother of three and a freelance writer specializing in parenting, childhood, and family issues.