Today’s post comes to us from fellow interlock provider, LifeSafer.

When it comes to having a teen in the house, risky behavior seems to go with the territory. Parents rightfully worry about teen behaviors like drinking and driving, smoking or drug use, and they hope they’ve given their teens the right education and guidance to choose the best option should the time come. A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that parents of this generation of teens can relax slightly on some fronts because teens are making better choices when it comes to many behaviors that worry their parents.

The study showed that teens from the United States are healthier and are making smarter choices than they did 20 years ago. 13,000 high school students from across the country were surveyed, and the results were categorized into risky behavior groups. There were several areas where the numbers showed a decrease in risk including:

  • Drinking – 35% of the students surveyed said they drank alcohol in the past month. That number is down from 39% recorded in 2011.
  • Smoking – Only 16% of teens had smoked in the past month, which is down from 27% when the CDC started taking the survey in 1991.
  • Fighting – Only 25% of students indicated they had a fight in the previous year, and that number is down from 33% in 2011.

Although teens decreased certain risky behaviors, other areas saw an increase including:

  • Texting and distracted driving – Distracted driving and texting behind the wheel is a huge concern for any parent and has become a more prevalent issue than drinking and driving with 41% of teen drivers having indicated they text or email when driving.
  • Media Use – Use of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and television are all rising, with 41% of teens stating they spend more than 3 hours using media per day.

Although the trend for teens is toward a healthier, less risky lifestyle, certain risky behaviors like texting while driving or excessive social media use can still cause parents to worry. How do you decrease your teen’s risk for certain behaviors? Mothers Against Drunk Driving says your best bet is to keep an open dialogue going with your teen and always discuss your concerns and outcomes of risky behaviors like drinking and driving, smoking and distracted driving.

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