Researchers say they anonymously sampled more than 1,300 middle school students in Los Angeles as part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior survey. The participants were between the ages of 10 and 15, with an average age of about 12 years.
And what the scientists found is disturbing: Teens who sent “sexts” were nearly four times more likely to say they were sexually active, and those who reported receiving a text were also 23 times more likely to have sent one.
Furthermore, students who identified as LGBTQ were nine times more likely to have sent a text. But those teens were not more likely to be sexually active.
Finally, teens who texted a lot were overall more likely to report being sexually active. Those who sent more than 100 texts per day tended to say they were sexually active.
“Our results show that excessive, unlimited or unmonitored texting seems to enable sexting,” Rice said. “Parents may wish to openly monitor their young teen’s cell phone, check in with them about who they are communicating with, and perhaps restrict their number of texts allowed per month.”
The study is published in the July 2014 issue of the journal Pediatrics.
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