Sexting Teens: More Prevalent Than You Think!
A parent recently told me that she knew her kids had secrets. She knew they never told her the complete truth because they didn't want to disappoint her and besides, she would "hit the ceiling."
Most likely this is the case for the parents of the 13 percent of Boston area high school students who say they've received "sext" messages. Do these parents know or even suspect that "one in 10 has either forwarded, sent or posted sexually suggestive, explicit or nude photos or videos of people they know by cellphone or online?" (Lisa Esposito, Healthday, Detroit Free Press)
In a study of 23,000 students from 24 of 26 high schools in the greater Boston area, teens involved with sexting were found more likely to have reported being psychologically distressed, depressed and/or even suicidal. But then sexting can include overtones of bullying and coercion. The teens were surveyed in 2010 and the findings were presented Wednesday, November 2nd at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
There seems to be a link between sexting and depression or increased suicide risk, but there isn't enough evidence for a causal relationship and indeed, the opposite may be the case, that teens who are depressed are more likely to sext.
According to lead researcher Shari Kessel Schneider who explained about the results, "It's important to know there's a link between sexting and psychological distress. It's something to be considered if you know of a youth who is involved in sexting." (Teacher World)
Researchers noted the following. Ten % of boys and 11% of girls had sent a sexually related image in the past year, while 6% of males and 4% of females had had such an image sent of themselves. Additionally, the likelihood of sexting increased amongst teens who described themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual other or not sure. (Esposito, Detroit Free Press)
Other studies have been undertaken about sexting, raising the question for parents, "How can I prevent my child from engaging in such behaviors as posting or posing for nude photos?"Continued on the next page