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Media and Technology, Parenting

Sexting rates higher than previously thought

Sexting rates higher than previously thought.  Tim Challies had this posted on his blog this morning.  If you have teenagers living at home, and you’re unaware of this phenomenon you should read this article.  There are more resources available on this should you need more help in this area.  One point this particular article doesn’t make is that anyone under the age of 18 sending pictures of themselves are actually distributing child pornography.  The legal ramifications of this alone are sobering.  This is a reminder of the need to be diligent and intentional in every area of parenting, especially when it comes to technology.  If you have a child at home with a cell phone, please be aware of the battles they face.  If you are thinking about giving a phone to a son or daughter, remember that as soon as you do your relationship with them will change, depending upon the boundaries you set up and enforce.  You can click on the link above to read the article on the National Post site or see it below.

GETTY IMAGES/THINKSTOCK

NEW YORK — Nearly 30% of U.S. teenagers are sexting, sending nude photos via email or text, according to a study that shows the behavior is more common than previously thought.

Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch also found that more than half of teens have been asked to send a nude photo of themselves to someone, and 31% had requested a naked picture to be sent to them.

“Sexting is a prevalent behavior among teens and it may be a fairly reliable indicator of actual sexual behavior,” said Dr Jeff Temple, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the lead author of the study.

“I think it is an indication of what teens are doing in their offline lives,” he added.

Unlike earlier online research and polls and a smaller published study on sexting, Temple’s findings, which are based on a survey of nearly 1,000 students in public high schools in southeast Texas, indicate a higher rate of sexting among teens.

“I think this is a more accurate representation of high school students,” he explained, referring to other studies. “Our results are on the higher end.”

Almost all of the girls that were asked to send a sext were bothered at least a little bit and over half were bothered a lot or a great deal, and yet some of them are still sending it

 

INDICATIVE OF SEXUAL BEHAVIOR

The teens in the study, which is published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, ranged in age from 14 to 19 years old, but the vast majority were 15 and 16. Boys were much more likely to ask for a nude photo to be sent to them. But in some cases girls also took the initiative.

“We found that 21% of girls in our sample asked for a nude picture to be sent to them and 42% of guys had been asked to send a naked picture, so it is certainly going in both directions.

Although sexting, which Temple described as a smartphone phenomenon, was common with teens, many admitted that they were uncomfortable with the behavior.

”Almost all of the girls that were asked to send a sext were bothered at least a little bit and over half were bothered a lot or a great deal, and yet some of them are still sending it,“ said Temple.

Among the boys more than 50% admitted being annoyed at least a little.

But even more importantly, Temple added, sexting can be indicative of sexual behavior, particularly with girls.

If a conversation about sexting can
act as a springboard for about talking about sex and safe sex, then it is a good point of the study

After examining the association between sexting and sexual behavior, Temple and his team found that teenage girls, but not boys, who sexted were more likely to have a higher prevalence of risky behavior such as having multiple partners and using drugs and alcohol before sex.

And rather than leading to harsher penalties for sexting such as prosecutions for child pornography, Temple said he hopes the findings showing how common it is will lead to softer legal punishments so stretched resources can be used to fund educational programs for teens on reducing risk sexual behavior.

”The main takeaway message is that it [sexting] may be an indicator of actual sexual behavior. If a conversation about sexting can act as a springboard for about talking about sex and safe sex, then it is a good point of the study,“ said Temple.

”I think the more we talk about sex with our kids, the better.“

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About hespelerbaptist

Equipping the saints for the work of the ministry.

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