Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Text messages make it easier for kids to misbehave

Date:
September 9, 2013
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
Study of more than 76,000 text messages shows that texting about delinquent topics predicts youths' involvement in antisocial behavior. Should parents and teachers worry that teenagers' texting may lead to involvement in more antisocial activities? Yes, says a study. Text messaging between adolescents about antisocial topics and behavior does in fact predict more rule breaking and aggression.

Text messaging between adolescents about antisocial topics and behavior does in fact predict more rule breaking and aggression.
Credit: micromonkey / Fotolia

Study of more than 76,000 text messages shows that texting about delinquent topics predicts youths' involvement in antisocial behavior.

Related Articles


Should parents and teachers worry that teenagers' texting or SMS messaging may lead to involvement in more antisocial activities? Yes, says a study led by Samuel Ehrenreich of the University of Texas at Dallas and published in Springer's Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. Text messaging between adolescents about antisocial topics and behavior does in fact predict more rule breaking and aggression.

The study provides a unique window into the social lives of adolescents, as it is the first to directly, naturally and unobtrusively observe text messaging between adolescents and their peers, and how it relates to later involvement in antisocial activities. 172 ninth-grade students from 47 American schools sent and received nearly 6,000,000 text messages during the yearlong study via Blackberry devices. The messages were archived, and four days of text messaging per participant were analyzed for discussions about the purchase or use of illegal substances, property crime, physical aggression and rule breaking. The youths, their parents and teachers rated their behavior before and after the ninth grade year.

Ehrenreich and his team found that participants did use text messages to coordinate antisocial activities, often occurring within the school. Texting with a peer about rule-breaking activities may not only provide easy access to information about illegal and antisocial behavior, but may also reinforce the notion that these activities are accepted within the peer group. Although the research team noted that text messaging also enhanced prosocial communication, they believe that the private nature of text messaging provided an ideal forum to plan and discuss antisocial activities beyond the realm of adult supervision.

The research team pointed out that youth who frequently engaged in antisocial SMS discussions may already be on a trajectory of increasing antisocial behavior. In line with the hypothesis suggesting that grouping deviant youth together increases their involvement in antisocial activities, communication about antisocial topics with deviant peers was found to be associated with increased rule-breaking and aggressive behavior.

Antisocial behavior typically includes activities that violate legal or societal rules, or which are harmful to the victims of these actions. It includes anything from hitting someone in anger to substance abuse, theft or secret retaliation against a peer. These actions are often covertly discussed and coordinated among friends, but are hidden from authority figures.

"Text messaging appeals to adolescents because they are able to discuss deviant topics in plain sight without adult supervision, and evade normal efforts to be monitored," says Ehrenreich, who stresses the need for teachers and school administrators to limit students' ability to text during the school day. "SMS communication is a meaningful avenue for deviant peer affiliation, and may warrant increased parental monitoring."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Samuel E. Ehrenreich, Marion K. Underwood, Robert A. Ackerman. Adolescents’ Text Message Communication and Growth in Antisocial Behavior Across the First Year of High School. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s10802-013-9783-3

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Text messages make it easier for kids to misbehave." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909105220.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2013, September 9). Text messages make it easier for kids to misbehave. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909105220.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Text messages make it easier for kids to misbehave." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909105220.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins