28 Percent of High School Teens Sexting

Texas study analyzes teen sexting

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A study by the University of Texas Medical Branch finds that 28 percent of teens are engaging in a different kind of sex education. Wait, what?

    Sexting, or sending sexually explicit messages or images via text message, has invaded high schools in astonishing numbers.

    The study also breaks down sexual activity and drug and alcohol use by those who sext. Not surprisingly, there’s a strong link between sending naked photos, sexual activity, and drug/alcohol use.

    Essentially, your child may be a few text messages away from starring in a very special episode of Intervention.

    Aside from the immediately obvious consequences these behaviors have—no, not referencing what you’re going to do to them if you find out—most teens do not realize that there is more at stake.

    According to ChildHelp.org, the legal ramifications of sexting for teens varies from state to state but may include charges of sexual exploitation of a minor, creating, distributing and possessing child pornography, engaging a minor in a “prohibited sexual act” or simulate a “prohibited sexual act,” indecency with a child or being put on the sexual offender registry.

    So how do you keep your snowflake from melting into street sludge? Preemptively ground them until they’re 18?

    You could block all text messages and photo sharing on their phone. It’s not a cure-all, but it definitely locks some doors.

    As a less drastic step, you could ask your wireless provider to restrict photo sharing. Most providers offer a way to block sending/receiving photos without impacting text messaging.

    Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, every resource available on the subject stresses that parents talk to their children candidly about the reality of sending photos of themselves to other people- a timeless lesson for children and adults.