'Sexting' May Go Hand-in-Hand With Unprotected Sex Among Teens
Results of a 2011 survey indicate that one of every seven Los Angeles high school students with a cell phone has sent sexting messages, a sexually-explicit text message or photo. This information was released in a study by Eric Rice, social network researcher at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and an assistant professor in the School of Social Work. The study was published September 17 in the journal Pediatrics. The survey also noted that “sexters,” people who sent such messages, were more likely to be sexually active and have unprotected sex. Rice warns parents that suspect their children are sexting to be aware that they may be participating in other sexual behavior. These findings are based on 1,839 students in Los Angeles high schools, the majority of whom were Latino. Three-quarters of the study participants owned a cell phone and used it regularly.
A previous study of high school students in Houston, Texas, found one in four teens had sexted a nude photo of themselves, and these students were also involved in risky sex. Rice commented that the rate of teen sexting in Houston may have been higher than in Los Angeles, but both reports are consistent.
[PNU editor’s note: The study, “Sexually Explicit Cell Phone Messaging Associated With Sexual Risk Among Adolescents,” was published ahead of the print version of the journal Pediatrics (September 17, 2012, doi:10.1542/peds.2012-0021)].
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