Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Antisocial texting by teens linked to bad behavior

Date:
September 9, 2013
Source:
University of Texas at Dallas
Summary:
New research examines antisocial texting habits in teenagers as a predictor for later deviant behavior by tracking teenagers' texts throughout the ninth grade. Self-reports and parent/teacher assessments revealed that students who texted about antisocial behaviors, such as fighting or drug use, were more likely to engage in the activities by the end of the year.

For American teenagers, most text messaging is as harmless as passing notes, but University of Texas at Dallas researchers have discovered that engaging in antisocial texting can actually predict deviant behavior.

In the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, scientists reported a correlation between the frequency with which adolescents text about antisocial behaviors and the likelihood that they will engage in them.

"We were interested in how adolescents use electronic communication, particularly text messaging," said Dr. Samuel Ehrenreich, post-doctoral researcher in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at UT Dallas. "We examined how discussing antisocial behavior -- substance abuse, property crimes, physical aggression, that sort of thing -- how discussing that predicts actually engaging in this problem behavior. Basically, does talking about bad behavior predict bad behavior?"

Although the idea of studying the texting habits of teens may not be new, looking directly at the messages they are sending is. Past studies relied on self-reported texting behaviors, which Ehrenreich said may be flawed due to teens providing inaccurate information about texts. They would not likely self-report texting about misbehavior. Teens also send an average of 60-100 texts per day, so they may simply forget about much of the texting they do. To circumvent these problems, free BlackBerry devices and service plans were given to 172 ninth-grade students with the understanding that their texts would be monitored.

Texts were collected and stored offsite in a secure database. The participants were rated before and after the school year for rule breaking and aggressive behavior by parents, teachers and in self reports.

Analysis of a sample of texts from two points in time revealed similarities in the types of antisocial messages between boys and girls. These included discussions of rule-breaking, illicit substance use, physical aggression or property crimes. Overall, the rate of antisocial texts was small, at less than 2 percent of the total messages sent and received. However, from this small percentage of messages, a strong link was found between those teenagers exchanging antisocial texts and the ratings of antisocial and aggressive behavior at the end of the school year.

"We know that peers are really influential in an adolescent's development. We also know that peer influence can lead to antisocial behavior at times, and this form of communication provides a new opportunity for peer influence," Ehrenreich said. "Texting is instantaneous, far reaching and it has these unique characteristics that make it all the more powerful, and this provides a new opportunity for peer influence."

Although this study focused on antisocial communications, Ehrenreich cautioned against thinking texting is all bad.

"Texting is meaningful, and within the archive we also saw positive, meaningful communications," Ehrenreich said. "We saw a lot of really heartfelt encouragement that goes on, on the spot, when the students needed it. I think there is a lot that's both good and bad, just like any other form communication. Texting matters."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas at Dallas. 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:

University of Texas at Dallas. "Antisocial texting by teens linked to bad behavior." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909172232.htm>.
University of Texas at Dallas. (2013, September 9). Antisocial texting by teens linked to bad behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909172232.htm
University of Texas at Dallas. "Antisocial texting by teens linked to bad behavior." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909172232.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Positive Ebola News: Outbreak 'Contained' In Nigeria

Some Positive Ebola News: Outbreak 'Contained' In Nigeria

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) The CDC says a new case of Ebola has not been reported in Nigeria for more than 21 days, leading to hopes the outbreak might be nearing its end. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Ebola Mission Head: Immediate Action Is Crucial

UN Ebola Mission Head: Immediate Action Is Crucial

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) The newly appointed head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Anthony Banbury, outlines operations to tackle the virus. Duration: 00:39 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Confirms First Case of Ebola in US

CDC Confirms First Case of Ebola in US

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) The CDC has confirmed the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States. The patient is being treated at a Dallas hospital after traveling earlier this month from Liberia. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Breast Cancer Drug Extends Lives In Clinical Trial

New Breast Cancer Drug Extends Lives In Clinical Trial

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) In a clinical trial, breast cancer patients lived an average of 15 months longer when they received new drug Perjeta along with Herceptin. Video provided by Newsy
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


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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