Summary: Study finds sexting youth more likely to engage in other sexual behaviors

Twenty-two percent of at-risk youth reported sexting in the last 6 months.

  • A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found those who reported sexting were more likely to engage in other sexual behaviors.

    The study was conducted between 2009 and 2012; it surveyed 420 seventh grade students between the ages of 12 and 14 via computer based questionnaires. The students were from five urban middle schools in Rhode Island. The students were identified by school personnel for “symptoms of behavioral or emotional difficulties, such as, withdrawing, hyperactivi nervousness, and declining grades.”

    The study found any form of sexting to be an indication for sexual risk. The study also found that sending nude photos is “associated with even greater likelihood of early sexual activity.” Females and Latinos were more likely to send nude photos.

    The study strongly suggests that “attention should be paid to adolescents’ electronic communication because sexting may be a marker for sexual risk behaviors that can have significant consequences including pregnancy or disease.”

    The study encourages parents to monitor cell phone and computer use and limit unrestricted access. [1]

 1Sexting and Sexual Behavior in At-Risk Adolescents”
Pediatrics 2014;133;e276; originally published online January 6, 2014; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2013-1157


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