Parents out there concerned about your their middle schoolers' texting habits — particularly with what those habits may indicate — take note.
Middle school students who send 100 or more text messages per day are more likely to be sexually active, Betabeat reported, citing a recent study in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The study in Pediatrics also looked at sexting behavior, noting that students who text at least 100 times per day were more likely to report both receiving and sending sexts.
In addition students who sent sexts, and students who received sexts, were more likely to report sexual activity. And excessive texting and receiving sexts were associated with both unprotected sex as well as condom use.
Oddly researchers found that about 20 percent of middle school students have received a sext, only five percent said they’d sent one.
Additional data of note:
- More than two-thirds (68.0%) of the sample owned their own cell phone and used it daily. Three-quarters (74.0%) of the sample had access to a text-capable cell phone. Thirty-nine percent of those with text-capable cell phones reported texting more than or at least 100 times a day.
- Approximately 11% of respondents were sexually active, and of those, fewer than 30% had unprotected sex at their last sexual encounter.
- Boys were significantly more likely to report being sexually active, as were those who sent more than or at least 100 texts per day.
- Sexual activity was significantly more likely among students who reported ever having received or sent a sext.
- Odds of sexual activity were decreased among white-identifying students compared with those identifying as Hispanic/Latino.
- Those who reported receiving a sext were 23 times more likely to have also sent a sext; students who reported sending a sext were 23 times as likely to also report receiving a sext.
- Data correlating with having received a sext included older age, identifying as black/African American, sending more than or at least 100 texts per day, being male, and identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or questioning/unsure — which was associated with nine times the odds of having sent a sext.
- Study participants had a mean age of 12.3 years (range: 10 to 15 years). Boys and girls were about equally represented (51.5% boys and 48.5% girls). Although the sample was largely Hispanic/Latino (60.5%), the student population was also racially diverse, with 17.6% identifying as black/African American, 15.1% as white, and 7.0% as another race.The majority of respondents identified as heterosexual (95.7%).
The researchers concluded that doctors “should discuss sexting with young adolescents because this may facilitate conversations about sexually transmitted infection and pregnancy prevention.”
(H/T: The Daily Dot)