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Our Pediatrics Sexting Article Gets 195 Media Hits Internationally
9-17-2012

In September of 2012, a paper co-authored by Jorge Montoya and Aaron Plant of Sentient Research (see citation below) titled “Sexually Explicit Cell Phone Messaging Associated with Sexual Risk among Adolescents” was published in the journal Pediatrics. Upon publication, the paper received widespread media coverage in 195 media outlets including newspapers, on television, and radio across the country, including the Los Angeles Times, CNN, NPR, Today Show, and more. The paper was also covered internationally in 14 countries, including Canada, Italy, Poland, United Kingdom, China, Nepal, and Malaysia.

 

Los Angeles Local FOX News, KTTV

The study utilized a probability sample of 1,839 students and was collected alongside the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey in Los Angeles high schools. This study was the first to use a probability sample to examine associations between sexting and sexual activity. We found that 15% of students with cell phone access reported sexting, and 54% reported knowing someone who had sent a sext. Among other findings, adolescents whose peers sexted were nearly 17 times as likely to sext themselves. Adolescents who themselves sexted were 7 times as likely to report being sexually active. Earlier research had suggested that sexting might serve as an outlet to sexual behavior, and therefore might reduce sexual risk taking. Our study found, however, that rather than functioning as an alternative to “real world” sexual risk behavior, sexting appears to be part of a cluster of risky sexual behaviors among adolescents.

We recommend that clinicians discuss sexting as an adolescent-friendly way of engaging patients in conversations about sexual activity, prevention of sexually transmitted infections, and unwanted pregnancy. We further recommend that discussion about sexting and its associated risk behavior be included in school-based sexual health curricula.

Citation:
Rice E, Rhoades H, Winetrobe H, Sanchez M, Montoya JA, Plant A, Kordic T. Sexually explicit cell phone messaging associated with sexual risk among adolescents. Pediatrics. 2012;130(4):667-673.

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