STUDY: Teens Who Sext Are More Likely To Be Sexually Active
Birds, Bees And Bytes.
Teenagers are walking bags of hormonal rage. So when you give them a way to easily share those impulses with each other, it's not hard to imagine what will happen next. According to a new study, teenagers who text each other their dirty little thoughts are more likely to engage in dirty little acts.
A study conducted at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, surveyed data collected about 1,800 students in Los Angeles between the ages of 12 and 18.
Researchers found that teens who engaged in sexting -- the sending of sexually explicit text messages -- were more likely to be sexually active. They were also more likely to engage in unprotected sex.
Those with friends who sexted were 17 times more likely to sext themselves.
"It's surprising in some ways that sexting isn't an alternative to risky sexual behaviors, it's part of the [same] landscape," says lead researcher Eric Rice, PhD, assistant professor of social work at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
Rice says the issue of sexting should be addressed in sex education classes, but if not parents should take the opportunity the study provides to bring it up with their children.
"I don't want to be alarmist, but I do think that parents who suspect their kids are sexting should be aware of the probability their kids are involved in other sexual behavior as well," Rice said. "They probably should worry insofar as it's likely their teens are sexually active and not using birth control."
The study was published online in the journal Pediatrics.