Is There a Link Between Sexting and Sex?

Dec 07, 2012

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Image: GrowWear - Flickr

A recent study found that one in seven Los Angeles high schoolers with a cell phone had sent a sexually explicit text message or photo (sext message). Another study of Houston high schoolers earlier this year found that one in four teens had sent a naked photo of themselves through a text or email.

More alarmingly, both studies found that teens who had sent such messages were more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors. They found that “girls in particular who'd sent naked photos were more likely to engage in risky sex, to have had multiple recent sex partners or to use alcohol and drugs before sex.”

Researchers aren’t sure if sexting is leading to engaging in risky sexual behaviors or if teens who are already having sex are also sexting, but it is clearly linked.

Teenagers doing either of these things tend to do the other. And both can be harmful. Sexting is illegal when it involves minors because it can be considered possession and distribution of child pornography. Teens don’t want to be charged and then labeled as a sex offender, but it has happened.

Parents should be aware of what’s going on in their children's lives and monitor what they are doing on their phones. Some parents have even gone so far as to not give their teenagers phones in the first place. What do you think?

I work for Net Nanny. The opinions expressed here are my own.


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