Sexting teens at risk of harms including depression, substance use: study

texting

An analysis of 23 studies by the University of Calgary says sexting by youth between the ages of 12 and 17 is linked with risks such as multiple sexual partners, anxiety, depression and substance use.

The research involving nearly 42,000 participants suggests sex education needs to be part of the school curricula when it comes to students sending explicit photos and videos, which could be forwarded without the sender's consent.

Senior researcher Sheri Madigan, an associate professor in the university's psychology department, says parents should also be talking with their kids about how to conduct themselves online so they are aware of the consequences of both sending and forwarding material that could be deemed child pornography.

Madigan says many parents don't talk to their kids about sexting because they think they're not technologically savvy enough to know what youth are doing online.

The analysis, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, looked at studies done from around the world between 2012 ad 2018.

Madigan says multiple factors including peer pressure could be involved in teens sexting ``nudes'' of themselves and younger adolescents are more affected by the negative outcomes.