Teens Sending 100+ Texts Per Day Are Likely Sexually Active
Part of a CDC study focused on the assessment of risk behavior of high school youth questioned the correlation between text messaging and sexually active behavior. The study found that most sexually active teens sent and received over 100 text messages per day. The link may be associated to a number of factors including a desire to be accepted, a cry for attention or other societal pressures that might portray promiscuous activity to be safe and acceptable. Sexually active youth account for more than half of the newly reported outbreaks of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) annually. STDs present lifelong health risks and can be costly in terms of ongoing treatment of chronic symptoms. Not all risky behavior can be avoided, but precautions can be taken to minimize the amount of exposure to health risks for children.
Text messaging is a new frontier in communication. Of course, we have always used words, but never have we had the ability to reach so many people at once with endless ideas, opinions, photographs or videos. Portable devices wirelessly connected online every hour of the day tirelessly transmit and receive event the most mundane thoughts and share them with someone else, regardless of where they are located. Text messages are convenient because no one else can listen in on the conversation and no one’s focus needs to be directed to any one person at any particular time. The problem is we tend to get lost in this fantasy world of sharing endless thoughts with countless people and begin to let our guard down. Things that we would not say or do in real life suddenly become easy to talk about with a text message on a phone.
People who text a lot usually do not have an inherent need to get the messages out, they do it because they can and it gives them a thrill. Passing secret messages back and forth used to take time and effort, and thoughtful telegraphs and birthday wishes cost money to send out. Teens who spend hours a day sending text messages back and forth are usually looking for constant excitement from social interaction and are seeking attention from others for validation of self worth. In addition to not being able to focus on studies or productive activities, someone who spends a great deal of time text messaging daily will generally be more willing to submit to peer pressure at their own peril in order to fit in.
Smartphones and the Internet give children access to adult media and the ability to connect with anyone from almost anywhere. Children are able to join groups and access material not intended for their young minds. This gives them a sense of maturity about themselves when they are privileged to share the experience with their peers. The Internet has become the host for many online addictions which inhibit an addict’s ability to deal with situations properly in everyday life.
Parents can talk to their teens about risks associated with smartphone use and guide their children in making safe and responsible decisions in every part of their lives. Parental control software will give parents the ability to restrict a smartphone or tablet’s access to certain websites or applications. Parents can install smartphone monitoring software with parental controls to the Android or iOS device their child uses and then log in to a secure web panel to see every text message, call made, website visited and GPS locations of their device and gain insight into what kinds of topics and behaviors their children engage in.