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Friday - March 2, 2018 1:52 am

Teen sexting study proves worrisome Featured

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The numbers from a new report might seem staggering when it comes to children and sexting.

It states that 1 in 4 children aged 12 to 17 have received a sext, while 1 in 7 said they have sent a sext.

Over 110,000 children were surveyed as part of the JAMA Pediatrics study.

Kids are too young to realize the consequences for their actions,Therapist Jeff Reiland, at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, said, as smartphones are given children younger and younger.

“Kids are just developing their sexuality, they're curious,” Reiland said. “The part of the brain that says ‘Iis this a good idea? Are there some things about this that could come back to haunt me?’ that executive functioning piece, that's the last part of the brain to develop.”

Those consequences could be criminal with child pornography charges being levied against some depending on the age of the person who received the message.

Reiland says you must continuously have this conversation with your child.

“Meet them where they're at,” he said. “It shouldn't be a one-and-done conversation. It should occur many times over (throughout) their adolescence.”

The research spanned from 1990 to 2016, which includes the early internet era of sexting. It is composed of 39 varying studies — 18 of which studied sexting with mobile devices and computers.

As for who is sexting more, boys or girls? 

“There are no gender differences; boys and girls are sexting at similar rates,” Sheri Madigan, one of the co-authors of the study, told the Chicago Tribune, adding children first get a phone, on average, at age 10.


Drew Kelly

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