Researchers from the Indiana School of Medicine asked 15 teenage girls to carry Global Positioning System (GPS)-equipped phones wherever they went. The idea behind the pilot study is not to spy on teens, but to use the new technology to keep track of health risks.
"The phones can help us better understand where adolescents spend their time and what they are doing," said Dr. Sarah Wiehe, a professor of pediatrics and lead author of the study. Researchers usually have to ask participants to recall what they did on a specific day or keep diaries. The new way is more accurate.
"But even more exciting," Dr. Wiehe said, "is the potential of using the GPS phones to intervene at the time they are taking a health risk, such as drinking or using drugs."
The study revealed that the girls spent a quarter of their time away from home or school, and on weekends, they went an average of 17 miles away from home.
This study appears in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
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