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 behavior.
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.
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 4,200 students.