Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- An alarming new study is showing us what teens are doing with their cell phones.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston
, Texas, says almost 30 percent of teens admit to sending inappropriate texts to friends. The study also says that kids who sext are more likely to be having sex.
The study surveyed students at seven different high schools. It found that more than half of the students surveyed had been asked for a nude photo. And about a third of the girls polled said they were bothered by the inappropriate messages.
Child Psychologist Tanya Gesek says, “They’re impulsively acting because of a strong desire to fit in, this strong desire to want to be liked and please people. But what they aren’t realizing is in the long term implications of this.”
Depending on what you're sending and to whom, you could be in trouble with the law in New York. Some may even face criminal charges for sexting, which is why Dr. Gesek says if your child has a cell phone you should be talking to them. She says, be open and honest about sex and the rules of your household.
“Some of the worst texting and sexting happens after kids go to bed because they aren’t supervised. I can’t tell you how many kids tell me they’re on their phone all night long, so take it away,” Dr. Gesek said.
Onondaga County offers a class for teens, teaching them the dangers of sexting. The Cyber Justice Diversion Program
goes over the risks and consequences teens could face after sending racy texts.
Gesek also says the trend may be sparked by pop culture, since kids are seeing celebrities become famous after risqué pictures or videos are released of them.
"Thankfully I'm not at that point yet," said parent Carol Datu who has a 10-year-old daughter. "I'm glad my daughter doesn't have a phone yet, and I don't think she is even aware of what that is. But if there is a way to block texting, I would."
There are a number of things parents can do to keep an eye on their kids. You can contact your cell phone provider to see what protections you can put in place.