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Sexting is riskier than you think: Sending nude pictures and racy texts ups the danger for teens

sexting, text message, texting
The Los Angeles study shows that one in seven teens has sexted, while Houston's numbers are closer to one in four.  AttendConference.com

Do Houston teens engage in more sexting than their Los Angeles counterparts? A recent study led by Eric Rice of the University of Southern California estimated that one in seven students in LA high schools engage in the technological activity, according to Reuters Health

Rice feels that the statistic corroborates a study published earlier this summer in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and led by Dr. Jeff Temple, a psychologist and women's health researcher for the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

 "What they're doing in their offline lives is what they're doing in their online lives."   

That local study looked at seven public high schools in southeast Texas, finding that 28 percent of teenagers had texted or emailed nudie pics to other teens.

Seventy-seven percent of the females that sent the racy sexts have had sex, and 82 percent of males engaged in sexting have had sex, but girls in particular were "more likely to engage in risky sex, to have had multiple recent sex partners or to use alcohol and drugs before sex."

Temple estimates that the national picture of teenage sexting falls "somewhere in the middle" of Houston (which surveyed an ethnically-diverse sample) and LA (which looked at primarily Latino subjects). 

"Sexting appears to be a reflection or an indication of actual sexual behavior," he told Reuters Health. "What they're doing in their offline lives is what they're doing in their online lives." 

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