We live in a society with few personal controls and even fewer people recognize boundaries which should govern their behavior and how they treat others. Common Sense Media has some great resources for parents about teaching children how to use media responsibly. Their information Talking About “Sexting” is excellent.
That picture’s not as private as you think
• 22% of teen girls and 20% of teen boys have sent nude or semi-nude photos of themselves over the Internet or their phones.
• 22% of teens admit that technology makes them personally more forward and aggressive.
• 38% of teens say exchanging sexy content makes dating or hooking up with others more likely.
• 29% of teens believe those exchanging sexy content are “expected” to date or hook up.
• (All of the above are from CosmoGirl and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2009.)
Advice for Parents
• Don’t wait for an incident to happen to your child or your child’s friend before you talk about the consequences of sexting. Sure, talking about sex or dating with teens can be uncomfortable, but it’s better to have the talk before something happens.
• Remind your kids that once an image is sent, it can never be retrieved — and they will lose control of it. Ask teens how they would feel if their teachers, parents, or the entire school saw the picture, because that happens all the time.
• Talk about pressures to send revealing photos. Let teens know that you understand how they can be pushed or dared into sending something. Tell them that no matter how big the social pressure is, the potential social humiliation can be hundreds of times worse.
• Teach your children that the buck stops with them. If someone sends them a photo, they should delete it immediately. It’s better to be part of the solution than the problem. Besides, if they do send it on, they’re distributing pornography — and that’s against the law.
• Check out ThatsNotCool.com. It’s a fabulous site that gives kids the language and support to take texting and cell phone power back into their own hands. It’s also a great resource for parents who are uncomfortable dealing directly with this issue. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/talking-about-sexting?utm_source=newsletter02.17.11&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=feature1-text
Common Sense Media has other great resources. Parent must monitor their child’s use of technology.
Science Daily reported in the article, Young teens who receive sexts are six times more likely to report having had sex:
A study from USC researchers provides new understanding of the relationship between “sexting” and sexual behavior in early adolescence, contributing to an ongoing national conversation about whether sexually explicit text messaging is a risk behavior or just a technologically-enabled extension of normal teenage flirtation. The latest research, published in the July 2014 issue of the journal Pediatrics, found that among middle school students, those who reported receiving a sext were 6 times more likely to also report being sexually active….. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140630094751.htm
Sexting and Sexual Behavior Among Middle School Students
1. Eric Rice, PhDa,
2. Jeremy Gibbs, MSWa,
3. Hailey Winetrobe, MPHa,
4. Harmony Rhoades, PhDa,
5. Aaron Plant, MPHb,
6. Jorge Montoya, PhDb, and
7. Timothy Kordic, MAc
+ Author Affiliations
1. aSchool of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California;
2. bSentient Research, Los Angeles, California; and
3. cLos Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles, California
OBJECTIVE: It is unknown if “sexting” (ie, sending/receiving sexually explicit cell phone text or picture messages) is associated with sexual activity and sexual risk behavior among early adolescents, as has been found for high school students. To date, no published data have examined these relationships exclusively among a probability sample of middle school students.
METHODS: A probability sample of 1285 students was collected alongside the 2012 Youth Risk Behavior Survey in Los Angeles middle schools. Logistic regressions assessed the correlates of sexting behavior and associations between sexting and sexual activity and risk behavior (ie, unprotected sex).
RESULTS: Twenty percent of students with text-capable cell phone access reported receiving a sext and 5% reported sending a sext. Students who text at least 100 times per day were more likely to report both receiving (odds ratio [OR]: 2.4) and sending (OR: 4.5) sexts and to be sexually active (OR: 4.1). Students who sent sexts (OR: 3.2) and students who received sexts (OR: 7.0) were more likely to report sexual activity. Compared with not being sexually active, excessive texting and receiving sexts were associated with both unprotected sex (ORs: 4.7 and 12.1, respectively) and with condom use (ORs: 3.7 and 5.5, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: Because early sexual debut is correlated with higher rates of sexually transmitted infections and teen pregnancies, pediatricians should discuss sexting with young adolescents because this may facilitate conversations about sexually transmitted infection and pregnancy prevention. Sexting and associated risks should be considered for inclusion in middle school sex education curricula.
• sexual risk
• middle school
• cell phone
• Accepted April 17, 2014.
• Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics
1. Published online June 30, 2014
1. » AbstractFree
2. Full Text (PDF)Free http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/06/25/peds.2013-2991.full.pdf+html
Young teens who receive sexts are six times more likely to report having had sex
Date: June 30, 2014
Source: University of Southern California
A study provides new understanding of the relationship between ‘sexting’ and sexual behavior in early adolescence, contributing to the ongoing conversation about whether sexually explicit text messaging is a risk behavior or just a technologically enabled extension of normal teenage flirtation. The latest research found that among middle school students, those who reported receiving a sext were six times more likely to also report being sexually active.
Here is the press release from the University of Southern California:
Tweens and teens who receive sexts are 6 times more likely to report having had sex
Study shows that middle school students who send more than 100 texts a day are also more likely to be sexually active
Contact: Suzanne Wu at firstname.lastname@example.org or (213) 503-3410; Tanya Abrams at email@example.com or (213) 740-6973
LOS ANGELES — EMBARGOED UNTIL Sunday, June 29, 9 p.m. PT/Monday, June 30, 12:01 a.m. ET — A study from USC researchers provides new understanding of the relationship between “sexting” and sexual behavior in early adolescence, contributing to an ongoing national conversation about whether sexually explicit text messaging is a risk behavior or just a technologically-enabled extension of normal teenage flirtation. The latest research, published in the July 2014 issue of the journal Pediatrics, found that among middle school students, those who reported receiving a sext were 6 times more likely to also report being sexually active.
While past research has examined sexting and sexual behavior among high school students and young adults, the researchers were particularly interested in young teens, as past data has shown clear links between early sexual debut and risky sexual behavior, including teenage pregnancy, sex under the influence of drugs or alcohol, experience of forced sex and higher risk of sexually transmitted disease.
“These findings call attention to the need to train health educators, pediatricians and parents on how best to communicate with young adolescents about sexting in relation to sexual behavior,” said lead author Eric Rice, assistant professor at the USC School of Social Work. “The sexting conversation should occur as soon as the child acquires a cell phone.”
The study 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. Respondents ranged in age from 10-15, with an average age of 12.3 years. The researchers found that even when controlling for sexting behaviors, young teens who sent more than 100 texts a day were more likely to report being sexually active. Other key findings:
• Young teens who sent sexts were almost 4 times more likely to report being sexually active.
• Sending and receiving sexts went hand-in-hand: Those who reported receiving a sext were 23 times more likely to have also sent one.
• Students who identified as LGBTQ were 9 times more likely to have sent a sext.
• However, unlike past research on high school students, LGBTQ young adolescents were not more likely to be sexually active, the study showed.
• Youth who texted more than 100 times a day were more than twice as likely to have received a sext and almost 4.5 times more likely to report having sent a sext.
The researchers acknowledge that despite anonymity, the data is self-reported and thus subject to social desirability bias, as well as limitations for geographic area and the diverse demographics of Los Angeles. However, the dramatic correlation between students who sent sexts and reported sexual activity indicates the need for further research and summons attention to the relationship between technology use and sexual behavior among early adolescents, the researchers say.
“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.”
Overall, 20 percent of students with text-capable cell phones said they had ever received a sext, and 5 percent report sending a sext. The researchers defined “sext” in their survey as a sexually suggestive text or photo.
Jeremy Gibbs, Hailey Winetrobe and Harmony Rhoades of the USC School of Social Work were co-authors of the study. The data collection was supported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (grant 5U87DP001201-04).
For the embargoed PDF of the study, contact the American Academy of Pediatrics at firstname.lastname@example.org. To arrange an interview with a researcher, contact USC News at email@example.com.
In truth, a close relationship with your child will probably be more effective than spying. Put down that Blackberry, iPhone, and Droid and try connecting with your child. You should not only know who your children’s friends are, but you should know the parents of your children’s friends. Many parents have the house where all the kids hang out because they want to know what is going on with their kids. Often parents volunteer to chauffeur kids because that gives them the opportunity to listen to what kids are talking about. It is important to know the values of the families of your kid’s friends. Do they furnish liquor to underage kids, for example? How do they feel about teen sex and is their house the place where kids meet for sex? See, 10 Tips for Talking to Teens About Sex, Drugs & Alcohol which was posted at the Partnership for A Drug-Free America http://www.drugfree.org/10-tips-for-talking-to-teens-about-sex-drugs-alcohol/
So, in answer to the question should you spy on your Kids? Depends on the child. Some children are more susceptible to peer pressure and impulsive behavior than others. They will require more and possibly more intrusive direction. Others really are free range children and have the resources and judgment to make good decisions in a variety of circumstances. Even within a family there will be different needs and abilities. The difficulty for parents is to make the appropriate judgments and still give each child the feeling that they have been treated fairly. Still, for some kids, it is not out of line for parents to be snoops, they just might save the child and themselves a lot of heartache. http://drwilda.com/2012/06/07/talking-to-your-teen-about-risky-behaviors/
Sexting Information: What every parent should know about sexting.
Social Networking and Internet Safety Information for Parents: Sexting
Teen Sexting Tips
New study about ‘sexting’ and teens
Sexting’ during school hours
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