Teen sexting: Kids who do it are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior, a new study shows. Sexting – of nude photos, particularly – increases a teen's odds of being cyber bullied if photographs wind up on the Internet.
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
One out of every seven Los Angeles high schoolers with a cell phone has sent a sexually explicit text message or photo, according to a 2011 survey that also found "sexters" more likely to engage in risky sex behaviors.
"No one's actually going to get a sexually transmitted disease because they're sexting," said Eric Rice, a social network researcher from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, who led the new study.
"What we really wanted to know is, is there a link between sexting and taking risks with your body? And the answer is a pretty resounding ‘yes,' " he told Reuters Health.
A study of Houston high schoolers out earlier this summer found one in four teens had sent a naked photo of themselves through text message or email, and those kids were also much more likely to be having risky sex.
Rice's findings, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, are based on 1,839 students in Los Angeles high schools, most of whom were Latino. Three-quarters of them owned a cell phone that they used regularly.
On a survey sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just over 40 percent of teens with a cell phone said they'd had sex, and about two-thirds used a condom the last time they did.