Having a boyfriend at an early age can seriously hurt a girl`s academic performance, but early romance has no impact on the schoolwork of boys.

According to a new study of Canadian schoolchildren, early adolescent girls generally spend more time with, and think more about boyfriends, and they are more emotionally involved in their relationships.

`Such heightened engagement may distract girls who are involved in a romantic relationship from schoolwork and, eventually, negatively impact on their academic performance," said the researchers from three Canadian universities.

On the other hand, boys tend to take their fledgling affairs of the heart less seriously.

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