What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• A major new study found worrisome associations between teen sexting and mental health as well as risky sexual behavior.
• Mental and emotional health services need to be more utilized in schools for the well-being of students. How can donors help fund programs to support teens?
• Here's an article on helping teens navigate through adolescence.
Youth who sext, compared to those who don't, were more likely to have multiple sexual partners, experience anxiety and depression, and drink alcohol, take drugs, and smoke. They were also less likely to use contraception. The associations were stronger in younger adolescents.
But before teens (and their parents) panic about how sexting might upend their lives, they should know that the scientists who conducted the research don't yet understand whether sending or receiving sexually explicit messages directly led to any of the negative outcomes.
Instead of a behavior that triggers a cascade of unintended, unfortunate consequences, it's possible that sexting is just one of several risky things a teen already more inclined to take chances might do. That could explain why the behavior shows up in tandem with increased sexual activity, substance use, and mental health difficulties.
"While we did draw associations between sexting and risk factors ... context is important," said Camille Mori, lead author of the study and a graduate student in the department of psychology at the University of Calgary.
Read the full article about sexting linked with worse mental health by Rebecca Ruiz at Mashable.