It turns out “sexting’ is more than just words for many teens. A new study shows that “sexting,” or the sending or receiving of sexually explicit messages or photos by cell phone is linked to teenage sexual activity.
“I want parents not to freak out. I want them to be able to see that this technology is integrated into every part of our lives,” Wiseman said. “Just like we teach our children how to act in real life and what those values are and morals and what the standards are, we have to be able to do that with technology, as well. … It’s about being able to say, ‘Ok, I’m going to incrementally give my child this freedom.’”
LG Mobile Phones has also found that sexting among teens is becoming quite prevalent; for example, at least 33 percent of teens have received a nude photo of someone over their cell phone.
“Educating yourself, as a parent, is extremely important because your own lack of knowledge to this reality can lead to circumstances no parent wants to face,” says Dr. Charles Sophy, medical director for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. “When a child’s reputation is ruined due to a thoughtless and careless act, the damages can be life-long.”
According to the new study out this week, teens who sexted were more likely to be sexually active, and some were more likely to engage in risky sex. Researcher Eric Rice, PhD, assistant professor of social work at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, who published his findings in the journal Pediatrics, found that 15 percent of teens who had access to a cell phone had sexted, and 54 percent reported knowing someone who had sent a sext.
“Sexting is part of the new landscape of the sex lives of teens,” says Rice.
- For more daily expert updates, follow genConnect on Twitter and Facebook.
- To stay on top of the latest contributions from experts: Sign Up for genConnect.