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PROVIDENCE – A team of Rhode Island-based researchers led by Christopher Houck, a psychologist at the Bradley/Hasbro Children’s Research Center at Rhode Island Hospital, has published a study that found sexting was common among middle school students and co-occurred with sexual behavior.
In the article published online on Jan. 6 by the journal Pediatrics, Houck recommended that parents communicate with kids about sexting (both photo and text messages) and sex in general. He recently told Providence Business News why such conversations in families matter.
“We believe these data highlight how important it is for parents and professionals to monitor electronic communications of at-risk teens, since sexual messaging can be a marker that they are involved in other risks,” Houck said in an email. “If they learn of them, parents can use these messages to open a discussion about their values around sex. Early adolescence is a time when teens are figuring out their own values, and they often share the values of their parents, if they’ve been communicated.” •