Sexting, the act of explicitly talking about sex or sending naked pictures via text messaging, has grown in popularity thanks to mobile technology. And it seems as if everyone is doing it, including teens.
Yet there is little data on the subject and the existing data suggests that sexting is not that common. But researchers from the University of Texas wanted to challenge this and find out just how common sexting is in the lives of teenagers and whether there was a link between sexting and physical sex.
According to Science Daily, researchers surveyed almost 1000 students, ages 14-19, from different races and socioeconomic backgrounds and asked them the following questions: "Have they ever sent naked pictures of themselves through text or email? Have they ever asked someone to send them a naked picture? Have they been asked to send naked pictures of themselves to someone, and, if so, how bothered were they by it?" The data proved eye-opening.
—More than 25 percent of teens were sending nude images themselves.
—Fifty percent had been asked to send a nude image of themselves.
—One-third of teens have asked to be sent these types of pictures.
—African-American and white teens were more likely to engage in this behavior.
—Boys were more likely to ask to be sent nude pics and girls were more likely to be asked to send these pictures.
—Almost 30 percent of teens sent sexts even though they stated to "be bothered" by it.
Most importantly, they found from the data that both male and female teens who sext are more likely to be dating and having sex compared to teens who are not sexting. According to Time.com, the survey data revealed that almost 77 percent of girls aged 14 to 19 who had sent a sext reported having had intercourse, compared with 42 percent of those who hadn’t sexted. Among male teens, 82 percent of those who sext had reported having sex, compared to 46 percent of those who don't sext.
Researchers report that many parents, teachers and especially doctors are really not aware of what is going on when it comes to sex and technology among young people. And given the rising STD and HIV rates among this population, it’s also important that doctors begin having conversations about safer sex practices.
The team of researchers wrote in their study, "Given its prevalence and link to sexual behavior, pediatricians and other tween-focused and teen-focused health care providers may consider screening for sexting behaviors. Asking about sexting could provide insight into whether a teen is likely engaging in other sexual behaviors (for boys and girls) or risky sexual behaviors (for girls)."
Do you sext?
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