Online Program

Hyper-texting and hyper-networking: Examining why too much texting and social networking is associated with teen risk behavior

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Scott Frank, MD, MS, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Arit Ige, MPH Student, MBBS, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University Master of Public Health Program, Cleveland, OH
Objective: To investigate why hyper-texting (texting ≥120 time/school day) and hyper-networking (≥3 hours using online social network sites/school day) among adolescents is associated with poorer health and more health risk behavior. Background: Previous research has demonstrated that hyper-texting and hyper-networking are strongly associated with adolescent health risk. This study seeks to identify attitudes and behaviors through which this association is mediated. Methods: This cross sectional survey of high school students (n=1,277) in a diverse inner-ring Midwestern high school included core Youth Risk Behavior Survey items with additional items to address communication technology. Analysis includes descriptive statistics, chi-square, and logistic regression. Results: Hyper-texting (30.5%) and hyper-networking (24.3%) were common teen behaviors. Among all teens, 75.8% of texters and 72% of social networkers acknowledge sending messages or photos that they would not want their parents to see, while 60% relate being connected when their parents believe they are sleeping. Teens admit to using texting or social networking to find a place to gather without parental supervision (56.4%); to drink alcohol (41.5%); or to meet for sex (27.4%). Teens relate both initiating cyber-bullying activities (18.3%) and being a victim of these behaviors (19.7%). Teens who hyper-text and hyper-network are much more likely to be involved with these unhealthy uses of communication technology. Conclusion: Excessive use of communications technology among teens is related to more health risk behavior and poorer perceived health. Teens frequently use such technology to find to deceive parents and identify unsupervised opportunities to be involved with risk behavior.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe an operational definition of hyper-texting and hyper-networking. Identify how teens use communication technology to facilitate involvement in unhealthy behaviors. Discuss the association of hyper-texting and hyper-networking with unhealthy use of communication technology.

Keyword(s): Adolescent Health, Communication Technology

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, medical director for a public school district, director of an MPH program, director of a substance abuse prevention coalition, and involved 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.