If you’ve finally mastered “OMG,” and “IYKWIM,” you may be ready for the next step in the deciphering of the text of messages, but if you are the parent of a teenager, you might not like what you discover.
That’s because young people spend more time sexting with at least 25% of the receiving of sexually charged texts and e-mails, and at least 1 on the 7 rays.
A meta-analysis of 39 studies from the University of Calgary and Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, published in JAMA Pediatrics, looked at sexting habits of more than 110,000 children from 12 to 17.
The investigation has revealed that ‘sexting is an increasingly common practice among the youth’, but instead of freaking out, the parents in the sexual education their children receive.
“The teenagers often do not separate their online and offline lives,” study lead author Sheri Madigan tells the CBC. “This is difficult for parents to understand.” The study explains why sexting among teens is not necessarily a bad thing.
The authors say that it can serve as a safe way for teens to initially approach the issues of sexuality and intimacy, as long as both parties are equally and no one feels forced.
If there is compulsion, however, or if sexts from leaking to other parties, more than 10% of the youth say that they have passed sexts without consent of the co-sexters—those who feel betrayed may experience mental health problems similar to those found after cyber-bullying.
Another surprising discovery of the research, according to the Los Angeles Times: the Girls are as likely as boys to take part in sexting. What parents should do, according to the authors of the study Offer “age-specific information about sexting and the possible consequences” as a regular part of their children sex ed.
(There are certainly legality children should know about.)
This article originally appeared on Newser: Caught Your Teen Sexting? Do not Panic