224927 Hyper-texting and hyper-networking: A new health risk category for teens?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 3:35 PM - 3:50 PM

Scott Frank, MD, MS , Case Western Reserve University, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine, Master of Public Health Program, Cleveland, OH
Lauren Dahler, MPH Student , Master of Public Health Program, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Laura E. Santurri, MPH, CPH , Master of Public Health Program, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Kristina Knight, MPH , Master of Public Health Program, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Objective: To investigate the prevalence "hyper-texting" (texting ≥120 time/school day) and "hyper-networking" (≥3 hours using online social network sites/school day) among adolescents and their association with health. Background: There is an increasing volume of teens using communication technology. It is unclear whether extremes of this behavior are associated with poorer health. Methods: This cross sectional survey of high school students (n=4257) in an urban Midwestern county included core Youth Risk Behavior Survey items with additional items to address communication technology and other health topics. Analysis includes descriptive statistics, Pearson chi-square, and logistic regression. Results: Hyper-texting (HT) was reported by 19.8% of teens, while 22.5% report no texting. Hyper-networking (HN) is reported by 11.5%, with 22.2% reporting no online social network involvement. HT/HN occurred more often among minority students; among females; in female headed households; and with lower socioeconomic status. Controlling for demographic factors, HT/HN were associated with higher levels of sexual activity, sex partners, perceived stress, suicidal ideation, alcohol use, binge drinking, tobacco use, and marijuana use. HT/HN students were more likely to be obese; demonstrate eating disordered behavior; miss school due to illness; have lower self-rated health; feel unsafe at school; and get less adequate sleep. Teen perception of parent attitudes regarding substance use and sex were more permissive with HT/HN. No texting or social networking was associated with better health outcomes. Minor differences between HT and HN are noted. Conclusion: Excessive use of communications technology among teens is related to higher levels of health risk behaviors and poorer health outcomes.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Communication and informatics
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe an operational definition of hyper-texting and hyper-networking 2. Identify demographic characteristics of teens involved with hyper-texting and hyper-networking 3. List health risk behaviors, health attitudes, and mental and physical health outcomes associated with hyper-texting and hyper-networking

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a family physician, director of a local health department, director of a MPH program, director of a substance abuse prevention coalition, and invovled in adolescent health research and practice.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.