To conduct their research, Jeff Temple of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and his team reviewed data gathered from several years’ worth of surveys that were completed anonymously by Texas high school students. These surveys were taken in 2011 and 2012, which was prior to the explosion of messaging apps, like SnapChat, that make sexting so simple for teens to do.
“That we did not find a link between sexting and risky sexual behavior over time may suggest that sexting is a new ‘normal’ part of adolescent sexual development,” Temple concludes.
But, parents should talk with their kids about the real risk involved in texting revealing photos. Last month’s leak of private celebrity photos should serve as a reminder that private text messages can easily spread accidentally or maliciously. And once that happens, there is no way to undo the damage and embarrassment.