Sexual Health news - Sexual Health and Behavior

Sexting teens are aware of legal consequences

Smartphones have done it. They have changed the game for communications, whether that be social, professional or sexual. One age group that is especially fond of this mode of correspondence is teenagers. U.S. News reports on the increasing use of text messaging to sexually communicate with others to whom they are physically attracted.

Sexting is defined as communicating through provocative and explicit text messages, photographs and videos.

A study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior found that out of 606 teenage students surveyed, 20 percent replied that they have used a cell phone to send a sexually explicit image of themselves, and twice that many reported having received one. Out of those who had received messages, 25 percent forwarded it to others. 

Sexting is illegal for those under 18

In many states, those who send or receive nude pictures of people under the age of 18 could face charges of possession or distribution of child pornography. One-third of the teenagers surveyed in the study knew that they could face legal consequences, and yet engaged in the activity regardless of potential repercussions. Furthermore, many teens do not even know that they may face charges as a result of sexting.

"These results argue for educational efforts such as cell phone safety assemblies, awareness days, integration into class curriculum and teacher training, designed to raise awareness about the potential consequences of sexting among young people," wrote Donald Strassberg, of the University of Utah, and colleagues, according to US News.

Parents should address appropriate communication through social media

The American Academy of Pediatrics say that it's imperative that parents talk to their kids about social media and monitor their use. Parents should also be aware of sexting slang, which are abbreviations relating to sexual activity.

The organization A Thin Line attempts to reach out to teach teens that they don't have to be pressured into sexting.

Popular magazine Cosmopolitan, which may be not advertised toward teenagers but are accessible to them, advertises sexting as a hot sex tip, as seen in one of its issues. The promotion may be acceptable for an adult audience, but not for an age group that can render legal consequences from their actions.