Texting and Facebook do not lead to risky behaviors

By Kathryn Minniti

Warning: Facebook users and texters are in danger.

According to a study done at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, people who use Facebook often or text are at a higher risk for “worrisome behaviors.”

These behaviors include smoking, risky sex, depression, eating disorders and drug abuse.

According to the study, 19.8 percent of teens surveyed said that they texted often and data showed that “these students are 40 percent more likely to have tried cigarettes, two times more likely to have tried alcohol, and nearly three-and-a-half more times to have had sex.”

But this all seems to be a coincidence. The majority of teenagers have Facebook and text, so wouldn’t it make sense for the teenagers that engage in risky behaviors to also have them as well?

It’s a bunch of useless correlations. For example, every Jessica I have known has been weird in some way.

But should I assume that every Jessica that I know I will do shots of ranch dressing off of people’s bodies? It’s ridiculous, but this is the kind of association the study uses.

The only risk teens that text often face is the risk of having too many friends and maybe carpal tunnel syndrome.

Granted, there can be dangers with texting, like texting while driving, but I would never associate your binge drinking with your overuse of emoticons in your texts.

If we’re going to play the association game, music is more likely to be an influence on kids doing drugs or having sex than texting.

Teens that are suicidal or have eating disorders have mental disorders that can be treated with professional help. Bullying, even through Facebook and texting, can cause eating disorders, or worse, suicide.

But Facebook and texting are simply a means to an end for bullies. Cyberbullying is a problem, but the focus should be on the source, not Facebook or texting.

And then of course, there’s the statement at the end of the press release: “[Lead researcher Scott] Frank emphasizes that this study does not conclude that avid texting and social networking causes unhealthy behavior, only that the behaviors are associated. He says further research is needed to determine the exact nature of this relationship.”

The coast is clear everyone. You can pick up your cell phones and log back into Facebook.