Have you caught your kid sexting on his/her cell phone lately? There is no reason to panic, say researchers, as sexting online and via mobile phone is so widespread that parents should accept it as a form of modern day courtship.
Despite fears that the increasing use of technology is encouraging early promiscuity, the latest survey of Australian high school students' sexual habits reveals the rate of intercourse is actually dropping as more teenagers choose to wait.
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"Despite the advent of this technology, sexual activity has remained fairly stable over the past two decades," professor Anne Mitchell from La Trobe University was quoted as saying.
It is a social, online world kids live in and sending these images and messages is part of their sexual relationships so it is really a new form of courtship, Mitchell added.
According to the survey, over 70 percent of sexually active students age 10-12 have sent explicit text messages, 84 percent have received them and more than half have sent naked or semi-nude photos or videos of themselves.
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"It appears to be happening universally and, while we need to be aware of the harm that can come if those messages are sent out far and wide or misused, it does not appear to be doing harm for the majority of kids," Mitchell noted in a Sydney Morning Herald report.
According to researchers, "Parents need to stop panicking about the use of technology and trust their kids - talk to them about their relationships, treating others well, having the kind of sex they want and being safe".
More than 70 percent of those surveyed who had sex had no regrets while 54 percent of those who were not sexually active were proud to say no.