WZVN

Sexting Study: 7th Graders 5 Times More Likely To Have Sex

In a new study published online Monday, researchers say 22 percent of at-risk middle schoolers admit to texting explicit messages or more.

By Cliff Judy | January 6, 2014

A new study shows seventh graders don't just sext more often than the general population — they're far more likely to go the distance if they're already sending explicit messages.

"What is on your middle schooler's phone? Researchers found one in five at-risk seventh graders participated in sexting. The study also found teens who sexted were four to seven times more likely to participate in sexual behaviors." (Via WZVN)

The new study was published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers studied 410 middle schoolers whose school counselors or administrators identified as at-risk.

Seventeen percent of those students said they only texted explicit messages. Another five percent admitted to texting and sending photos of themselves.

Those students who sent both texts and pictures were the most likely group to engage in sexual activity. The study also identified sexting teens as more likely to have low self esteem. (Via KING)

"TODAY" profiled an Ohio teen who killed herself after an ex-boyfriend sent her naked pictures to hundreds of classmates. (Via NBC)

"She snapped. It was just too much for an 18-year-old girl to go through."

Some experts took the study as a sign that parents need to talk to their children earlier than previously thought — and often.

The study's lead researcher told 'TODAY,' "Certainly, if (parents) see photos, then that’s an extra warning sign that there might be a real need to have a conversation and to monitor. Previous studies have suggested that a very small percentage of early adolescents were sexting, but we don’t really believe that."

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