Teen 'Sexting' on the Rise, Study Says

Anti-sexting applications intended to help parents monitor teens

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    Sexting among teenagers is not a new fad, but it is on the rise, according to a recent study.

    Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found out of the 1,000 students surveyed, nearly one third sent a nude photo by text or email.

    More than half of them had been asked for a naked picture and felt uncomfortable when asked to send one.

    Experts say that sexting could lead to risky behavior and have devastating consequences.

    "They may not realize the photograph that they sent out can be repeated a million times and get out of their control," said Psychiatrist Clark Smith of San Diego.

    He adds that one of the reasons teens sext might be due to low self-esteem.

    "They want to feel better about themselves. Kids are really insecure," said Clark. "They might be bragging or boasting, but whoever sees that message can get the wrong idea."

    The study further shows that kids who sexted were more likely to be sexually active.

    One local teen doesn't see how sexting is beneficial.

    "Personally, I think it's ridiculous," said 16-year-old Rebecca Caswell. "I don't think that sex is something really important in a relationship, so I don't understand why you would want to show your boyfriend or anybody else yourself naked before you get married."

    Some experts suggest that parents monitor their kids' texting by downloading a mobile anti-sexting application. The applications vary in the level of communication allowed between teen and parent -- some skyware apps can be installed without the teen knowing.

    One application that can be installed with teens knowing is My Mobile Watchdog, available for most smart phones. The application encourages open communication between teen and parent, the application's developers say.

    Another is PicsChecker, which sends parents email updates of the activities they choose to monitor.

    For a guide to some anti-sexting applications, click here.

     

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