When will teens understand that sexting is not as harmless as they think?

If you have a teen at home, it's highly probable that he has sent a sexually explict message or photo to somebody or that he knows someone who has. While most teens don't think sexting is a big deal at all, another study has just come out showing the dangers behind this popular practice. The new survey of Los Angeles high school students--most of which were Latino--found that those who sext are seven times more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior in real life, including having unprotected sex.

So while your teen might not see anything wrong with sexting, you should probably be playing closer attention to his behavior while on his cell phone.

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Read more in ¿Qué más?: 10 teen sexting codes all parents need to know

What I have a hard time understanding is why teens continue to think sexting is no big deal despite the fact that so many of them have gotten in trouble for it. Not to mention that when you text a sexually explicit photo of yourself to someone else, you never really know where it will actually end up. As the survey's authors clearly stated in the journal Pediatrics:

Sexting may be particularly detrimental for adolescent populations because of the likelihood that sexually explicit material will be quickly shared throughout young people's technologically active social groups.

That's why I agree with the authors that both schools and parents need to make it a point to discuss the perils of sexting with their teens. Schools need to include it as part of their curriculum and we need to be as honest and explicit with our kids about the real consequences of sexting.

I'm lucky that I don't really have to deal with right now since my kids are still so little, but can you imagine what my worries will be when they become teens?

Image via Jhaymesisviphotography/flickr

Topics: sex  teen issues  teenagers  sexting