A new study published in the journal Pediatrics reveals that teens in middle school who indulge in sexting, sending sexually explicit messages, were more likely to be sexually active compared to those who do not sext.
The study has been conducted by researchers at USC School of Social Work, Los Angeles Unified School District and Sentient Research who surveyed over 1,300 students between 10 and 15 years of age from the Los Angeles school district in 2012. The researchers found that more than two-thirds of students had their own cell phone while three fourths had phones that were able to send or receive texts.
While just 20 percent of the students admitted to receiving a sexually explicit text or photo and five percent admitted to sending one, the researchers found that those who received sexts were six times more likely to have had sex while those who sent such messages were four times likely to have reported sexual activity.
"The surprise is that for younger kids -- 11- to 13-year-olds -- sexting is not an alternative to real-life sexual activity. It's actually a part of it. Sexting isn't harmful unto itself, but it can have harmful implications. It can ruin reputations and cause legal problems and may encourage kids to be more sexually active", lead researcher Eric Rice said.