Our View: Sexting and unsafe sex

Thursday , October 04, 2012 - 11:26 AM

Editorial Board

It’s not uncommon for teens to have a smart phone with them at all times. And, as many parents can attest to, it’s not uncommon for a teenager to send dozens of text messages a day to friends. But, we wonder how many parents are aware that their teenage children are sexting, sending texts that are sexually suggestive.

It’s important for parents to keep a close watch on their children’s’ smart phone communications. A study of 1,800 Los Angeles high school students reveals that one in seven of the kids have "sexted." And those who have sexted are seven times more likely to engage in sexual relations.

The study also shows that girls who engage in "sexting" engage in unprotected sex in greater numbers, have multiple sexual partners and used alcohol or drugs prior to sexual intercourse.

Parents need to understand that mobile phone that they provide their child can be misused as a tool that can lead to unsafe sex. In fact, sexting can be construed as more dangerous because it’s easily conducted outside parental review. Parents must stay aware of how their children are communicating. Besides the potential health risks that come with unwise, too-early sexual activity, there are economic consequences to teens having sex, particularly for girls.

To succeed in today’s economy, youngsters need to accumulate education, find jobs and constantly be able to adapt to changes, technological and otherwise, that develop in their jobs or careers. And, most importantly, teens need to avoid having children. The responsibilities of having and rearing a child at such a young age clash with the education and work experience needed to succeed in life.

Parents already have many areas where they have to watch out for their children. If kids are going to be allowed to have mobile phones, then checking for sexting must be on the parental watch list.

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