A team of Texas researchers recently published the findings of a scientific undertaking studying a condition plaguing 28 percent of Texas teens.
So now, when that half-cocked smile rolls across a teen's face in line at 7-Eleven or when your kid checks his phone at the dinner table and blushes, you can assume this is what's up.
The study by the University of Texas Medical Branch, published in this month's unusually titillating issue of Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, found that more than one in four adolescents had sent a naked photo of themselves, about half have been asked to send a naked photo of themselves, and about a third have asked someone else to send a naked photo. When asked by researchers whether the sexting interfered with their homework, 34 percent of respondents whipped out their junk and snapped an Instagram of it, apparently as some sort of diversion.
The study participants were a diverse group of 948 students (ages 14-19) from seven southeast Texas high schools. To add context, the study notes that previous research has determined that anywhere from 1-31 percent of teens sext. That's a wide range, and one that these researchers attribute to small and unrepresentative sample sizes. This study aimed to get a more carefully calculated read on the issue.
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Not so surprisingly, the study links teens' sexting habits with dating and sex lives. Among girls, more sexting, soliciting sexts and receiving sexts meant they were more likely to have started dating, had sex (with multiple people) and used drugs and alcohol before sex. In other words, prolific sexters are also prolific sex-havers. No surprise there.
Male sexters were more likely to have had sex than their non-sexting counterparts, but there was no significant association between sexting and having multiple partners or using substances before sex. The study reasons that this may be because women risk being stigmatized for sexting more so than men, although it could be because all teenage boys answer these questions the same way.
Oddly, the study also made a connection between parents' level of education and kids' propensity to ask for a nude text. The more educated the parents, the less likely their kids were to solicit SMS dong shots.
Though sexting is prevalent, the study also found that it was not casually accepted. Asked for a photo, nearly all girls were "bothered," as were more than half of boys. This serves to further prove what we already knew: Teens are by far the strangest of humans.