Nearly 30 percent of US teenagers are sexting, with one in four having sent a nude image of him or herself via e-mail or text message, a new study found.
The study of 948 students aged 14 to 19 at seven Texas high schools, published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, suggested that sexting was more common than previously thought, Reuters reported.
The study also found that more than half of the teens had been asked to send a naked photo electronically, while 31 percent had requested a naked picture from someone.
And 28 percent of teens who exchanged nude messages were more likely to have sex, Bloomberg cited the study as saying.
Of girls who had sent a nude message, more than 77 percent reported having had sex, compared with 42 percent of those who had never sent a naked photo. For boys, the numbers were 82 percent and 45 percent.
More boys asked for a "sext," but the same number of boys and girls had sent one.
"Sexting is a prevalent behavior among teens and it may be a fairly reliable indicator of actual sexual behavior," Dr Jeff Temple, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Medical Branch said.
"I think it is an indication of what teens are doing in their offline lives," said Temple, the lead author of the study.
Bloomberg quoted Megan Moreno, a University of Wisconsin adolescent medical specialist, as saying: “These messages are really important to adolescents. I think we’ll want to think about how do we provide education about it and how do we provide prevention."
LiveScience reported that despite the high compliance rates, a majority of teens were irritated when asked to transmit nude pictures of themselves.
Temple described sexting as a smartphone phenomenon.
A 2009 Pew Internet and American Life survey put the number of sexting teens at about 15 percent, according to LiveScience — only 4 percent of whom had sent photos themselves.
In 2011, a national study of 10- to 18-year-olds found that only about 1 percent of this age group created their own sexually explicit images — although 9.6 percent said they has received such images.
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