A Teen Who Sexts is Probably Also Having Sex

Sexting may be just the start when it comes to teens and having sex, according to recent research studies.

A recent University of Southern California-based study explored whether or not teens who sext may also be more likely to engage in risky behaviors regarding their own bodies. Results from nearly 1,900 high-school aged students affirmed this assumption.

A previous study suggests that around 25 percent of teenagers have sent a sexual or naked image of themselves to others using a sexted message or with email. The sexting teens were also identified as the group with a higher likelihood of taking those sexual behaviors into real life scenarios, which can increase their risk of acquiring STDs, unwanted pregnancies or being in a potentially violent situation. Another survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also backs this information, stating that around 40 percent of adolescents who have a cell phone have already engaged in sexual activity.

The problem, says experts, is more than the sexting, and more than the risks associated with the act of sex itself. Additional studies have explored how viewing pornographic and sexual images may affect both male and female perceptions of sex and their bodies, with self-image problems or negative attitudes toward sex that can remain for years. Some experts believe girls may believe they are objects for sexual activity with people who are interested, and that they must perform in the sexual ways they see online. Boys may come to believe women are objects of sexual fulfillment, especially since these images and behaviors are being viewed during key developmental years.

Not only are there serious risks associated with sexting and sexual behavior for teens, but in a growing number of situations, the use of drugs or alcohol is also involved.

Parents are strongly encouraged to continue having conversations with their teens about sexting, explaining that it can lead to bullying, unwanted sexual advances and many other risks, including a potential for pornography charges.

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