Does hyper-texting equal more sex, drugs at your house?

A new study says that 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.

From the Associated Press: (I bolded for quick read)

“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 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.”

“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.”

“About one in 25 fall into both categories.”

“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.”

“Frank’s study is billed as one of the first studies to look at texting and social networking and whether they are linked to actual sexual intercourse or to other risky behaviors.”

” ‘This study demonstrates that it’s a legitimate question to explore,’ said Douglas Gentile, who runs the Media Research Lab at Iowa State University.”

“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.”

“Compared to the heavy texters, the hyper-networkers were not as likely to have had sex, but more likely to have been involved in other risky behaviors like drinking or fighting.

So what do you think? Does this relationship between hyper-texting and a greater chance of having sex or doing drugs ring true to you? Do you see this in your own kids?

How much are they texting? Will this make you examine that texting to sex/drugs relationship at home?

Are they hyper-texting because they are social or because they feel pressure to answer when every friend texts them? Why does the extensive texting have to equal something bad? (I’m feeling defensive because I’m pretty sure if I were a teen I would be hyper-texting. I’m pretty chatty!)

22 comments Add your comment


November 9th, 2010
11:46 am

Correlation does not equal causation. However, it seems to me that 120 texts a day would leave little time for anything else. I am not a fan of the new world and its communication.


November 9th, 2010
12:11 pm

This ranks right up there with one of the stupidest “surveys” I have ever heard of.

Yea, texting leads to sex and drugs……O M G!!!

I can honestly tell you that my daughter is THE text queen, and she is NOT doing drugs. The sex part, I don’t know about, since she is now in college and it’s her decision. I don’t what to know about her sex life any more than she wants to hear about mine. But I do know she is on birth control.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 9th, 2010
12:13 pm

why does it lead to it JJ??? cause they are setting up hook ups, flirting????? I’m just not seeing the relationship –


November 9th, 2010
12:17 pm

I saw this a little while ago and wondered if you were going to post a topic on it. Once again this just proves that surveys & statistics can tell any story you want them to:

“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.”

Aren’t kids who are: “minorities, kids whose parents have less education and students from a single-mother household” more likely to engage in these behaviors regardless of whether they have a cell phone or sit on the internet 3 hours a day??


November 9th, 2010
12:30 pm

I’m with you Theresa, I don’t see any relationship between these things..I have a neice that can text with the best of them, waited until she was married to have sex and does no drugs, nor does she drink..Another neice also is always texting (17) and she’s not doing drugs, drinking or having sex either..Both are from a single mother household.. A mother that drank, did drugs and you name it..So I think this is just a BS survey..


November 9th, 2010
12:36 pm

If you read the full post, the AP article clearly states that the study authors are NOT suggesting that texting leads to sex and drugs (Theresa even bolded that part). Nor does it say that every hypertexter will do drugs.

Just because a study doesn’t show causation, doesn’t mean it’s stupid. When studies find these sorts of correlations, they lead researchers to ask why the correlation is there, or as one researcher above said show that these are “legitimate questions to explore.” Why are hypertexting/networking kids more likely to engage in risky behavior? Is it something about too much screen time affecting the brain? Maybe this behavior changing how teens form relationships and make them more willing to quickly jump into a sexual realtionship? Are hypertexting/networking kids more likely to be largely ignored by their parents or have fewer rules/less discipline? Who knows? But the fact that there is a clear correlation means it’s probably worth looking into this a bit more and try to figure out what’s going on.


November 9th, 2010
12:42 pm

thank you, HB!

i also want to add that there are MANY instances in which parents “think” their kids are not having sex/doing drugs because their child “tells them everything”…and the kids are LYING.

just saying.


November 9th, 2010
12:55 pm

There’s no cause and effect relationship in that one does not CAUSE the other. Generically, it is a symptom of self-importance (and self definition which is closely related to swings in self-esteem), although not for every person.

Kids who do not text at all are more likely to be less socially active, and thus under less peer-pressure and cultural pressure to be conformists. Kids who text through the roof are likely influenced more by those same issues. But, no, one does not actually cause the other.


November 9th, 2010
1:12 pm

@TechMom -EXACTLY!


November 9th, 2010
1:36 pm

How many teens did they poll?


November 9th, 2010
1:40 pm

TWG…I think JJ was being sarcastic! I think the texting, etc. allows them to say things that they normally wouldn’t say face to face (at first). This then opens the door for more things once they actually meet in person. Now they have to “walk the walk” that they “texted” so they don’t look like a liar!

I don’t really think there is too much of a correlation though. I would have to say these are the same kids that were probably already doing these things (or would have been prior to technology) before they even thought of the survey!

I can tell you that I know of several kids who were already doing all of that stuff before they got their phones!


November 9th, 2010
2:46 pm

4,200 kids at 20 schools in Cleveland, JJ. (Did you read the post or just the headline?)


November 9th, 2010
2:48 pm

Well….my two are grown and out of the house so in my house it’s just me. And in my house, texting AND sexting is definitely leading to more sex ;-)


November 9th, 2010
3:35 pm

I read this thinking “duh!” I don’t think texting or being on Facebook, twitter, or whatever social network, or just surfing the internet for that matter causes anything. I do think that the reason they do spend more time on them or texting is because they are allowed to. “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.” I think that reading between the lines here is that the children are less supervised because the parents either are out at work or just don’t care. Girls especially are IMO crave more of an emotional connection and if they can’t get it with mom &/or dad then they look to friends or boyfriends.

The internet and cell phones are just tools that can be used.


November 9th, 2010
4:09 pm

Sorry, but texting just seems like a high tech version of passing notes like we did when I was in school. Now granted, I never wrote a 120 notes a day (although there were probably days I got close to it), but I don’t recall anyone ever seeing a correlation between passing notes and drug use and sex! Honestly, this “study” reminds me of something from the 1950s.

TnT's Mom

November 9th, 2010
4:55 pm

I am with others in that one does not cause the other, but the same factors that lead to teens engaging in sex, drinking and other risky behaviors and the same factors that allow them to spend so much time texting and on FB. Those factors such as lack of parental involvement in their lives, no other activities such as sports, church, a job, etc.


November 9th, 2010
5:26 pm

ROFL! Sorry, JJ, but I think your daughter and mine are neck-and-neck on the Texting Queen title! Mine had over 5,200 text messages in September, which translates to about 173 text messages a day — or, figuring an average of 17 hours a day awake, an average of 17 an hour. However, lots of the messages are short two or three words — “what time do you want to meet for dinner” “6?” “No, 7 – I have practice” sort of thing. We got unlimited texting a LONG time ago! She and I just had a 7-message exchange over a change on her resume over the course of 15 minutes, so there’s 7 of 17 right there :-)

As far as texting being a benchmark for “sex and drugs and rock and roll” — it’s hardly a causality. I can see that people who have a lot of texting would probably be more social, anyway, which would tend to lend itself towards the alcohol and other things. I can guarantee that my daughter NEVER did drugs — she’s quickly dumped roommates who smoked pot. And in her second year of college, I have NO idea on the sex, and yes, she I’m sure she does drink socially. But she never spent three hours a day on Facebook! Good lord, she’s NEVER had that much free time!

When the study says “teenagers”, are they talking about 13-17? Or are they talking about the 18 and 19 year olds, too? I’m always curious when they refer to teenagers in studies like this, because obviously, college students will probably be more likely to use alcohol and progress to sex in their relationships than, say, a 13 year old. Yet, parents see “teenager”, and all they think of is the 13 year old.


November 9th, 2010
5:27 pm

OK, so these were high school students . . .answered my own question . . .


November 9th, 2010
6:07 pm

Kids who hypertex tend to have less parental supervision and less wholesome activities. These are the kids who are more likely to use drugs and alcohol. While one does not cause the other, they both stem from lack of parental attention/supervision/investment.


November 9th, 2010
8:30 pm

I can see how this might be the case. Kids who spend lots of time texting their friends are probably very peer-dependent, which makes them more likely to do unwise things to fit in.
The difference between texting and passing notes in class is that the texting continues all day, every day. Kids never really have time apart from their friends to figure out who they are as individuals.


November 10th, 2010
7:51 am

catlady…good point…mine both text but we are very involved with both of them, so I do not see this as a problem. As a backup….DB checks out my son…..;>)

Peer dependent is also a good term. We have tried to teach ours to be independent thinkers and they tend to tell us stories about friends who are doing crazy things. When my son first went to UGA, he sometimes came home and said, “there are kids doing ___________ you know their parents but I am not telling you who it is, I am NOT doing that as I am trying to keep in focus and I told those kids my parents would kill me if I did that.” Ya think?


November 10th, 2010
8:05 am

hundreds of texts really arent a lot. if you ever read your kids texts you will see things like…’where r u’ ‘at mcdonalds’ ‘meet me there’ ’see you tonight’ ‘call’ me’…etc….how long does that take? not long at all…it doesnt take long to add up to hundreds of texts. seriously. i have teken up texting just to stay in touch with my kids and now i text all the time. i probably have hundreds and trust me…with a full time job…a 2 hour commute and full time college class load i surely am not spending large times of my day texting. i probably spend more time posting on here than i do sending 50 texts lol.