Is your child one of the one in four children, ages 10 to 18 years old that say they have received a sext; one in seven say they've sent one, according to a new JAMA Pediatrics study.
Is your child sexting? According to a new report, sexting is happening more often than you may think and the impact could be dangerous.
Sexting is sharing sexually explicit messages, pictures,or videos digitally. Ten years ago, the term sexting didn't even exist.
Times are changing. Now one in four people, ages 10 to 18 years old, say they have received a sext; one in seven say they've sent one, according to a new JAMA Pediatrics study.
Some blame a lot of this on the development of technology. Kids are getting cell phones younger with less supervision.
Doctors say sexting can lead to unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Sexting can also put kids at risk of sexual abuse by adults.
Dr. Rich Kreipe at University of Rochester Medical Center says parents have to keep an open line of communication about tough topics like this. He says parents should not directly ask if their child is sexting.
"A parent can say anything, like I saw on the news, I read in the newspaper some kid who did this and let's just talk about that," Dr. Kreipe said. "When you bring it up as a neutral subject, it's not necessarily about the person themselves and you just say I'm concerned about this because I understand somethings could happen."
Dr. Kreipe says sexting has become a public health risk to our children because you never know who is behind those messages. A lot times it can be an adult posing as a teenager.
It's also important to know in this digital world pictures and videos that were meant for one person can easily be distributed to the world. Kreipe says he expects to see more studies done on the impact of sexting in the future. He hopes the research will lead to better sex education in schools.