Sexting and Middle School Students

Students texting outside schoolWhile previous studies have looked at correlations between high schoolers who sext (send sexually explicit photos or comments via texting) and sexual activity, a new study looks at middle school students and finds the same correlation. Middle school students who sext are more likely to be sexually active themselves. Even though the overall percentage of middle school students who are sexually active remains small compared to older teens, those who have sent or received sexual texts are more likely to be in that category. It should also be noted that the consequences for teens who start having sex in middle school tend to be greater than for those who become sexually active later in life. They tend to have more partners in a lifetime, are more likely to contract an STD, and are more likely to eventually experience a teen pregnancy.

Amplify Youth Development tries to cover sexting in our lessons, reminding teens of the risks — emotional, social and legal. But we are not a substitute for teens hearing it from their parents! Don’t rely on your child being present (and awake!) during the one moment a teacher brings up sexting. Take the initiative to discuss sexting, no matter how awkward the conversation might be.

A note from personal experience: teens are not always aware of just how inappropriate a comment or photo might be in the eyes of other people. You can believe the best in your teen’sĀ intentions, but they may still be susceptible to sending a text that makes you, or the recipient, blush. Explaining why a text like that is inappropriate might be one of the most painfully embarrassing moments you have with your child, but if you don’t explain it, who will? Teens are not going to learn decency from late night television or sitcoms…