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Worry More About Teens and Texting

As if texting weren't enough of a problem already, parents now have more reason to worry about their kids' incessant prestidigitation. According to a new study by Case Western Reserve University , high school students who spend the most time texting and/or on social networking websites are more susceptible to risky behaviors including smoking, sex, depression, drug and alcohol abuse and absenteeism.

The research is based on data from questions posed last year to more than 4,000 students at 20 urban Ohio high schools. It revealed that about 20 percent of high schoolers sent at least 120 text messages a day. Ten percent of them were visiting social networking sites for three hours or more. Four percent did both.

According to the study, those four percent had twice the risk of non-users for unsafe or challenging behaviors such as fighting, smoking, binge drinking, becoming victims of cyber-bullying, thinking about suicide and missing school, among others. However, the researchers suggest that texting and social networking are not necessarily the cause of these problems.

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