Earlier this summer we reported on a survey of Houston teens that found that those who engage in sexting are more likely to be banging the bananas out of each other IRL. Now, a new report in the journal Pediatrics, focusing on the behaviors of Los Angeles teenagers, bolsters those findings. Sexty teens, it finds, are not just more likely to be having sex—they're more likely to be having "risky sex."
"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.
...His research found that girls in particular who'd sent naked photos were more likely to engage in risky sex, to have had multiple recent sex partners or to use alcohol and drugs before sex.
"Sexting appears to be a reflection or an indication of actual sexual behavior," [Jeff Temple, author of the Houston study] told Reuters Health.
"What they're doing in their offline lives is what they're doing in their online lives."
I mean, duh. Teens who engage in sexual behavior engage in sexual behavior; teens with fewer boundaries and inhibitions fail to maintain boundaries and inhibitions. It's pretty obvious that sexting is a symptom here, not a cause—so maybe we can take this as a lesson that teenagers need sex education that actually acknowledges that they have sex? And then teaches them how to do it safely? ...No? Just...more abstinence? Okay, then. Great plan, America.
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