Teenagers with smartphones have more sex than those with so-called “dumb phones” (or apparently chastity phones), according to a somewhat dubious study.
The study surveyed nearly 2,000 high school students in public schools in America. One-third of those students owned smartphones. Among the smartphone owners, half (47%) were sexually active. But only one-third (35%) of regular cellphone users were.
Further, more smartphone students said they had sex with people they met online than those with feature phones.
The smartphone is “one of the tools that risk-taking teens are going to use to take risks,” study co-author Eric Rice, assistant professor at the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California, told HealthDay. He believes there is “definitely a connection” between a teen having a smartphone and having more sex.
But according to HealthDay, the study “doesn’t prove that smartphones and sexual activity are connected, or look at whether being sexually active might make kids more likely to use smartphones rather than the other way around.” David Finkelhor, director of the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center, also questioned the findings.
“Youth with smartphones could be having more sex for many reasons that have nothing to do with smartphones,” he told HealthDay. “I would be willing to bet that youth with cars are more likely to have sex too. This research is sure to be misinterpreted as an argument for limiting smartphone access.”
The study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.