A new study from the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics was released Monday about teenagers and their use of sexting.
Sexting is usually done through a cell phone, computer, or tablet. A person will send sexually explicit images, videos or messages to someone else.
Researchers looked at data from 1990-2016 and combined multiple studies looking at sexting in 110,000 kids from 12-17 years old.
They found that one in seven teens had sent a sext, while one in four teens has received a sext.
As teens got older, they were more likely to sext. Using mobile devices to send sexts is also becoming more and more common.
Both boys and girls seem to be sending and receiving sexts at about the same rate.
Surprisingly, one in eight teens has either forwarded a sext or had their own sext forwarded. That's pretty worrisome for parents.
Here are 3 simple tips for parents about sexting and their teenagers:
- Talk to your kids at an early age. Researchers found even children 9 and 10 years old were sexting. It is important to discuss the subject so your children are aware.
- Use this as an opportunity not only to discuss sexting, but to answer their other questions about sex, relationships, etc.
- Breathe. It's not the end of the world. The numbers of teenagers sexting has gone up over time. Your teenager is not the first, nor will he be the last one to sext.
Empowering your kids to say no and to think about what could happen will help them understand how sexting is not "just a few pics."
Talk about the issues and how nothing is really ever "gone" on the internet. It is also important to discuss the legal issues about sexts being forwarded, as many teenagers are likely not aware.
We are living in an increasingly digital age. The more you can discuss with your kids, the more open they will feel asking you questions.