With all that technology at hand, teenagers today have grown a lot more straightforward and “mature” than their parents and even their older siblings. On the other hand technology and app is giving them the chance to connect easier, but on the other hand having one in four teens sexting in Texas is not exactly ordinary news.
A study published earlier this week in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine might give parents a bit of a scare. If you worried about your teenager’s online browsing and behavior this study is going to give you nightmares. Basically, a quarter of today’s American teenagers have been sexting.
For the parents that aren’t familiar with the term, sexting refers to sending nude photos of yourself through electronic means. With teenagers owning at least a cellphone, tablet or laptop, sexting and other personal messages have become for the most part a replacement of actual connections.
Researchers with the University of Texas Medical Branch Health questioned some 1,000 students aged 14 to 19 from Texas’ public high school. The attempt was to learn more about teenagers’ sexual behavior and find ways to raise awareness and help educate both parents and children on the subject.
Half of the students involved in the research said they have been asked to send a naked photo of themselves, while only 28 percent have actually undertaken sexting. Jeff Temple, lead author of the study, emphasized the same 28 percent that have been sexting are most likely to have had sex. Temple added that the teen girls that are sexting are likely to have multiple sex partners and even try out drugs and alcohol.
“The main implications are that sexting is prevalent, that it’s common” the lead author explained in a statement for Bloomberg. “If we know that they’re more likely to have sex, then maybe that gives the pediatrician or the parent information to start a conversation” said Temple. But where do you even start asking your teenager if he or she has been sexting?
Temple believes parents “should be talking to their kids about it (sexting), if nothing else for a conversation about sexual behaviors and a conversation starter about risky sex”.