Hyper-Texters: The dangers teens face when texting too much

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by Mia Gradney/ KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on September 11, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 11 at 6:13 PM

HOUSTON—Texting. It is temptation at your teen’s fingertips.

Blair Osgood’s cell phone doesn’t stay quiet for long. Her mom, Jane, got her the phone so they could keep in touch after school. Her mother never imagined Blair would text away all day long. Blair even admitted she texts in class.

“Probably in the one Language Arts class, probably 100-ish, for that class,” Blair said.

Blair sends hundreds of messages a day and nearly 3,000 texts a month. Blair was an A, , and C student, but after the phone arrived, her grades dropped.

Her mom said during that texting period, there was definitely a lot of work that was not getting turned in.

Kevin Roberts is an expert in cyber addiction.

“They (teens) have the keyboard memorized. They look like they’re paying attention, but their thumbs are feverishly tapping away,” Roberts explained.

Roberts said many experts are divided over whether you can call excessive texting an “addiction.”

He, instead, calls it “a powerful distraction.”

A new study reports teens who are Hyper-Texters-- that’s 100 or more messages a day -- are 40 percent more likely to smoke, 43 percent more likely to become binge drinkers, 41 percent more likely to use drugs, 55 percent more likely to get in physical fights and 3.5 times more likely to have sex. In fact, 90 percent of those report having four or more sexual partners.

Experts advise parents to not only monitor the number of texts kids make, but the time those texts are being sent and place restrictions.

Blair is now text-free during the school day and her grades have rebounded, although the temptation hasn’t completely gone away. Blair says,

“They’ll text me in the middle of class, and I’ll be taking notes so I don’t answer,” she said.

Blair is making better decisions and her parents got a good wakeup call.

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