Note-passing has gone electronic for today’s teens and includes a form of flirting known as “sexting” that can have unwanted and even dangerous outcomes, according to an expert on teen sexual health at Baylor College of Medicine.
Sexting refers to sending sexually explicit text messages and photographs over a cell phone. Teens also use social media sites like Facebook and Myspace as well as instant messaging to communicate things of a sexual nature.
Teens and adolescents are urged not to engage in this behavior, said Dr. Peggy Smith, director of the Baylor Teen Health Clinic.
Sexting should become a routine part of parents’ conversation with their children about sexual health, Smith said. Parents need to convey that sexting, although sent as a private message to someone, may not remain private and can have consequences on future college and job searches.
Internet and cell phone use should be monitored by parents, just as they monitor their children’s use of a vehicle, Smith said.
Though almost everyone uses the internet to conduct business, connect with people, pay bills or find information, the people who spend hours each day aimlessly surfing the net appear more likely to be depressed.
Psychologists at the University of Leeds in Britain evaluated the internet use and depression levels of 1,319 people ages 16 to 51. Of the group, 18 people were classified as internet-addicted, according to the Chicago Tribune. When the 18 people were compared with 18 similar people who were not internet-addicted, the researchers saw striking differences in depression.
The 18 non-addicted people were not depressed while the 18 internet-addicted people were classified, as a group, as moderately to severely depressed.
The addicted people tended to use the internet more for sexual gratification, gaming and chat rooms, compared with the non-addicts.
The authors of the paper, published in the journal Psychopathology, concluded that these people were replacing real-life socializing with internet surfing