Sex And Drugs More Common In Hyper-Texting Teens

Provocative new research indicates that teens who text 120 times a day or more are more likely to have had sex or used alcohol and drugs than kids who don’t send as many messages.

Is this yet another proof of the downside of social media for teens?

Text Messaging Linked To Risky Behaviors

Dr. Scott Frank, the study’s lead author, is careful to add that he’s not suggesting hyper-texting leads to sex, drinking or drugs, but he does say that it’s startling to see an apparent link between excessive messaging and some risky behaviors.

Frank is an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. This study was done at 20 public high schools in the Cleveland area last year, and based on more than 4,200 confidential paper surveys of students.

Dr. Frank presented his findings at the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) annual meeting on Tuesday.

Hyper-Texters More Likely To Have Sex, Do Drugs

The survey found that 19.8 percent of these students sent over 120 text messages a day, making them “hyper-networkers.” It further revealed that “teens who are hyper-networkers are 62 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,” according to the APHA.

The study concluded that a significant number of teens are very susceptible to peer pressure and also have permissive or absent parents. “If parents are monitoring their kids’ texting and social networking, they’re probably monitoring other activities as well,” said Frank.

Good luck on monitoring your kids’ text messaging, Dr. Frank!

How To Define Hyper-Texting?

As a high school teacher, these numbers make me nervous. Not because of the basic findings of the report, which, if true, are disturbing.

But let’s be sure how we are defining hyper-texting. Anyone who is around teens (not to mention people in their 20s, 30s, etc.) know that texting is their preferred means of communication. My students can’t wait for the bell to ring, so they can pull our their phones.

Really, How Unusual Is 120 Texts A Day?

Thus 120 texts a day sounds pretty normal. In fact, a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project in 2009 revealed that one in three teens is sending more than 100 texts a day. That was last year, so I can only imagine what the percentage might be this year.

What do you think? Is texting really that risky?



W. C
W. C2 months ago


William C
William C2 months ago

Thank you for caring.

Veronica C.
Veronica C5 years ago

I was thinking exactly what Kersty E. said. I didn't think they stopped texting long enough!

Lori F.
Lori Fisher7 years ago

I actually am promoting a software that you can download on your kids' phones to monitor their texting and even prevents texting and driving! I became an advocate when I heard there is actually something you can do and be proactive about when it comes to my teens and their texting.

Carla Manning
Carla M7 years ago

Interesting. Thanks for all your comments. I appreciate the different perspectives and will keep them in mind when my child begins texting.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman7 years ago

some restriction here certainly wouldn't hurt! Question is are most teens capable of control in this issue? Maybe some are but I believe the majority are not. If that is true, then the question of drinking, sex, and drugs link up here. Those are my thoughts. thanx

Aspen Baily
Past Member 7 years ago

I don't really understand your comment. It is true that there is an unverified cause here but it doesn't really matter which way you look at a correlation.

About the article:
These two factors are also not necessarily, "linked." All that is presented here is that these factors will increase with each other. As one increases so does the other: A positive correlation. This says absolutely nothing about causation. There are likely other variables to consider and to assume any conclusion based on this particular study is somewhat irresponsible. Yes, it may be useful for making predictions. No, it is not useful beyond this per se. This is one of my most common problems with journalism.

Honestly this doesn't come as any surprise to me. It stands to reason that those more active socially, or "popular," are inclined toward drug use and other things that follow partying and the like. That's typically true. All that is different here is the medium for interaction, which is to say almost nothing.

And I have to ask: Are we demonizing sex again? I mean teens are having sex quite commonly, and that's clear. Many also experiment with substances. I'm not saying this is necessarily good or bad, but it's just a reality. How about we educate teens about this instead of picking at largely unrelated issues?

Tori W.
Past Member 7 years ago

maybe they should be looking at the "link" the other way around...perhaps the kids are already hyperactive and that is leading to the sex, drugs and hypertexting...maybe the texting is not any type of cause at all but a result of an as yet unclarified cause. a link, maybe, maybe not.

Kersty E.
Kersty E7 years ago

You would think that text addicts would have no time for sex, drugs or anything else, spending their whole life texting. It's more likely to turn them into nerds and dyslexics than drug addicts.

Petra Luna
Petra Luna7 years ago

The technology doesn't drive the kids to behave badly or become sexualized. it's the media thrown at them, the lack of parent/adult contact with the kids, and then expecting our kids to grow up too fast.

Spend time with your kids, then they won't feel they need the attention from sexting and other risky behaviors.