The sexting-study news cycle

I’m quoted in a CBS News article today.

Hasinoff cautions parents not to worry excessively about kids who spend a lot of time texting. “I don’t know that texting a lot is a particular problem,” she said.

“We need to think of cellphones as a way that kids communicate. You’d never say kids are talking to their classmate too much at recess, or that they used 1,000 words at recess, and that’s excessive,” she added.

… The study says parents may wish to “openly monitor” their kids’ cellphones. But Hasinoff said “that sends the exact wrong message.”

Parents should talk about the importance of privacy and serve as role models, she said. “We want to be teaching kids to respect the privacy of other kids and develop the sense that privacy really matters,” she explained.

Kids should also learn about the need to gain consent for any kind of sexual behavior, including sending someone sexually explicit photos, she added.

This article also illustrates the way that research gets translated into headlines. The study itself was careful to mention that different sexting behaviors were correlated with both riskier sexual behavior and condom use. And the authors noted that the number of young people who were sexually active was too small to draw any conclusions about that. But there it is in the headline, a conclusion: “In middle school, sexting linked to riskier behavior.”

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