CLEVELAND – New research shows sexting – the sending of sexually explicit material via text message – has become more common among adolescents.
Kate Eshleman, PsyD, of Cleveland Clinic Children’s did not take part in the study, but said the research showed a rise in the number of tweens and teens engaging in sexting in recent years.
“It looked at the number of kids who are sending the information, which is about one in seven kids sending sexts, as well as receiving and about one in four kids are receiving the information,” she said.
Researchers analyzed data from 39 different sexting studies which contained 110, 380 participants between the ages of 11-17 years old.
Results showed 14.8 percent of youth engaged in sending sexts; while 27.4 percent received sexts.
The study also noted that sexting increased with adolescent age and that about 12 percent of sexts were forwarded without consent.
Previous studies have suggested sexting is a predictor of sexual behavior and may be associated with other risky behaviors.
Dr. Eshleman said it’s important for parents to be in tune with the cell phone habits of their tweens and teens.
“My advice for parents is to always be aware of what your kids are doing,” said Dr. Eshleman. “As the kids get older they do require, and deserve, a certain level of privacy, but it’s always important for parents to be knowing what’s going on in their kid’s life, the kind of information that they’re sharing with others.”
Dr. Eshleman recommends parents who are looking to open the conversation about sexting do so in a neutral way by asking broad questions.