Sexting among young teens may translate to risky sexual behaviors in real life, finds a new study.
The study found that more than one-fifth of seventh graders who were considered "at-risk" because of behavioral and emotional difficulties admitted to sexting.
This group of 12 to 14-year-olds were found to be more likely to kiss, have oral sex and sexual intercourse compared to their peers who did not send the explicit text messages, CBS News reported
The study authors said that these data suggest that phone behaviors, even flirtatious messages, may be an indicator of risk.
Clinicians, parents and health programs should discuss sexting with early adolescents, they said.
Several studies have looked at the sexting behaviors of high school students. An estimated twenty-five percent of teens admitted to sending sexts in a July 2013 study, and 76.2 percent said they were asked to send a sext.
This study was the first to focus specifically on a middle school-aged group of students and link sexting to the prevalence of actual sexual behaviors, according to its authors.
The research is published in the journal Pediatrics.