Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
Teenagers who engage in “sexting,” or sending sexually explicit text messages, are 7 times more likely than their peers to be sexually active in the non-virtual world, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found. Further, the study found that because sexting is a risky behavior, the practice also puts teens at higher risk for having risky sex, putting them in danger of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. From CNN:
“The same teens who are engaging in digital sex risk taking through sexting are also the same teens that are engaging in sex risk with their bodies in terms of being sexually active and not using condoms,” said lead study author Eric Rice, an assistant professor at the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work in Los Angeles.
A 2009 report from the Pew Research Center found that some teens “view sexting as a safer alternative to real life sexual activity.”
While the term ”sexting” may also include messages also sent over the Internet, this particular study looked solely at cell phone text messages and images. It was conducted via questionnaire in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Researchers surveyed 1,839 students ages 12 to 18 at random. Most were Latino or African-American. Three-quarters of those surveyed had cell phones.
“Even though a minority of teens sext – we only found 15% – but that 15% are much riskier with their physical sexual behaviors as well as their digital sexual behaviors,” says Rice.
He add that teens who reported sexting were seven times more likely to be sexually active than their peers who did not sext.
Image: Teen sending text message, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
Though nine out of ten teenagers use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites and report it has more of a positive than negative role in their lives, Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives, a new report from Common Sense Media’s Program for the Study of Children and Media, has found that many teens still prefer talking to interacting digitally – and many describe their relationships with social media as an “addiction.”
According to the report, teens’ favorite way to communicate with their friends is by talking in person (49%), with texting next (33%) and social media a distant third (7%). Teens who prefer talking face-to-face say it’s because it’s more fun (38%), and they can better understand what people mean (29%). The telephone, a mainstay of teenage life just a generation ago, is virtually dead: Only 4% of teens prefer to talk on the phone.
“Today’s 13- to 17-year-olds are the first generation to go through their entire teen years with such an array of digital devices and platforms,” said James P. Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media in a statement. “This report reads as a primer for parents to teens and tweens — to help them understand how their kids are engaging with technology and to highlight any impact it might be having on their social and emotional well-being.”
Image: Teen girl texting, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, June 7th, 2012
A Massachusetts teenager has been convicted of vehicular homicide for a 2011 car accident that resulted in the death of one man and serious injury to a passenger, CNN.com is reporting. Eighteen-year-old Aaron Deveau was texting while driving. From CNN:
“I made a mistake,” Deveau said Wednesday after his mother told the court he would not intentionally hurt anyone. “If I could take it back, I would take it back.”
Judge Stephen Abany sentenced the teen to two and a half years on the vehicular homicide charge and two years on the texting and causing injury charge. He will serve one year concurrently on both charges and the balance of both charges is suspended for five years. His license will be suspended for 15 years.
“There are no winners today,” Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in a statement. “A beloved grandfather is dead. A once active woman can no longer work and is still racked with pain from her injuries and a young man is going to jail. When we get behind the wheel of a car, we are obligated to drive with care. … As we saw in this case, in a split second, many lives are forever changed.”
Image: Texting while driving, via Shutterstock.
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Monday, December 5th, 2011
A new study has found that while one out of ten 10-17-year-olds has sent or received a sexually suggestive text message on a cell phone, only out of 100 of those images would constitute “child pornography” as it is currently defined by the law. The New York Times reports that though the study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, does not point to widespread child pornography on cell phones, the data does confirm that tweens and teens are using technology as part of exploring their sexuality:
Over all, the new report found, 149 youths interviewed for the study, or 9.6 percent, said they had sent or received images that included full or partial nudity in the previous year. Just over 2 percent of those who engaged in sexting said they had appeared in the pictures or had taken them themselves, and 7.1 percent said they received sexual images from someone else.
In most cases, the motivations for sending or forwarding sexual texts were not malicious. Most of the youths who sent such messages said that they did so with someone they were involved in a relationship with, or that their messages were flirtatious gestures to someone they had a romantic interest in.
About 31 percent who appeared in or took sexual images said that alcohol or drug use had been a factor. And despite public concerns about lewd photographs of minors that start out as private messages becoming widely distributed, only 3 percent of the minors in the study said they had forwarded sexual photographs that they had received.
The fact that about a third of sexual messages were created or sent when alcohol or drugs were involved suggests that the children who are doing the riskiest messaging are engaging in other risky behaviors as well, said Nancy Baym, a professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas and author of the book “Personal Connections in the Digital Age.”
Image: Teenage girl texting, via Shutterstock
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