1 in 4 chance your teen has gotten a sext

Experts want states to stop prosecuting teens for consensual sexting

By Francine Frazier - Senior web producer
Public Domain

As if parents don't have enough to deal with once their teens' hormones start kicking in.

Apparently, “sexting” is the new flirting, according to some experts.

Research compiled in a new article in Pediatrics found that texting sexual images has become increasingly common among teenagers in the United States.

That's not completely surprising, considering teens are using cellphones more than ever.

But in 39 studies featuring more than 110,000 teens, researchers found that more than a quarter of teens (27.4%) have received a sext and 14.8% have sent one.

Boys and girls sext equally, but the older teens get, the more likely they are to be involved in sexting, the authors found.

And in some states, teens risk more than just embarrassment if the photos get out. Twenty-three states allow authorities to prosecute sexting between teens as the production of child pornography.

A conviction could send a teen to prison for up to 20 years and would land them on the sex offender registry.

The authors of the Pediatrics article suggest those laws should be changed when it comes to consensual sexting because the issue is better addressed at home, in schools and by health care professionals than by the legal system.

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