Parents, do you know what your children are doing on their smartphones?
Wed, 08 Jan 2014 23:58:17 GMT —
A new study in the journal "Pediatrics" reported one in five middle school students with behavioral problems have sexted recently.
Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit texts or pictures.
These students are also four to seven times more likely to engage in other sexual activity, according to the study.
Smartphones and applications such as Snapchat and Instagram's recently updated direct messaging feature make it easier for teenagers to send pictures.
Abby, a student, said she hears about other students using Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter to post inappropriate and private things.
She recently did a project on internet safety and said she learned about the permanence of things that are posted online or sent through smartphones.
Students said they believe their peers sext to fit in.
"Sometimes it's to make them look cool. I think like 'hey, I can be socially acceptable by doing this.' And then I think other times it's just because they are depressed and they want something to make them happy," said Andrew, a student.
CareNet offers mentoring for teens and preteens about purity.
"These young people just don't really see the far reaching implications of what they're doing, said Kelli Bullard, mentoring director of CareNet. "They think this kind of thing its anonymous and nobody's going to know and it's not really going to be something that'll affect them long term."
Bullard said an important part of the mentoring is explaining the value and worth of each individual.
"They're looking for a way to define their value, and their worth. They're looking at their value, they're confusing it with their sexuality. They're thinking that sexuality is what makes me valuable," Bullard said.