It's enough to make you want to keep your teenager locked in the house until the age of 35. According to a new study, about 28 percent of teenagers in the U.S. are engaging in sexting, or sending nude photos via e-mail or text, according to a new study.
More than half of teens have been asked to send a nude photo of themselves to someone, and 31 percent have requested a naked picture, according to the study, conducted by researchers at the UT Medical Branch in Galveston.
“Sexting is a prevalent behavior among teens, and it may be a fairly reliable indicator of actual sexual behavior,” said the study's lead author, Dr. Jeff Temple, who says that in many cases, parents may not be aware of the behavior.
“I’d really like this study to get parents to ask their kids, what do you think, is it going on with teens you know? How would you handle it if someone asked you to send a naked picture of themselves?" said Temple.
Temple also indicated that the survey revealed that one-third of teens have asked for a nude picture to be sent to them, and teen girls who engage in sexting tend to indulge in other risky behaviors.
While the private nature of cell phones tend to make it hard for parents to detect sexting by their teens, Temple says it's important that the conversation happen, as the practice has been known to ruin lives and lead to arrests and jail time. At the very least, it can lead to embarrassment for teens when the photos wind up in places they never intended.
“Talking about sex, the birds and the bees, is intimidating and scary for parents and even pediatricians. This might be a door opener to talking about sexual practices,” said Temple.