We all know about the risk of teens (or anyone) texting while driving. According to a report by the National Safety Council, 28 percent of car accidents are caused by talking or texting while driving. But does texting also lead to other risky behavior?
A recent study led by Scott Frank, M.D., M.S., associate professor of family medicine with Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine, revealed just under 20 percent of the high school students studied engaged in “hypertexting.” The researchers define hypertexting as sending more than 120 text messages per school day. Outrageous!
The study also revealed that the hypertexting students were much more likely to report engaging in other risky behavior than those who didn’t hypertext.
- 90 percent were more likely to report having had four or more sexual partners
- 55 percent were more likely to have been a physical fight
- 43 percent were more likely to already have engaged in binge drinking
- More than 40 percent were more likely to have tried smoking cigarettes
You can’t just assume that hypertexting is causing the poor behavior, or visa-versa. There are many other factors in the lives of teenagers that could be associated with risky behavior, including lack of parental supervision, stress, depression and other psychological disorders.
Whatever you think of the study, you should be concerned if your son or daughter is texting 120 times while at school. Some companies have released anti-texting solutions to help parents monitor their child’s texting activity.
Options Media (OPMG) has created PhoneGuard ($19.95). This newly-launched software can deactivate the phone’s keyboard, eliminating the ability to text while driving or other times parents deem appropriate.
- Disables texting, emailing and other distractions while driving a vehicle – If the phone is moving more than 20 mph, the application automatically disables texting, emailing, surfing the web and instant messaging.
- Knows when a driver is moving at an unsafe speed – By setting the software’s SpeedAlert™, the administrator of the phone (parent, employer) is notified when the phone has gone over a certain speed limit by receiving a text message with the speed and location on a map.
- Puts the phone in Phone TimeOut™ – The software’s “time-out” feature can be used by parents to control the hours when kids can text, email or surf the web, such as school or work hours.
What do you think about anti-texting software? Would you use it on your tweens and teens’ cell phones?