More than one-quarter of teens engage in sexting, and those who send explicit photos of themselves are more likely to become sexually active a year later, according to a study published on Monday.
But the study, reported in the journal Pediatrics, did not find a link between the sending of sexually explicit photos and texts with risky sexual behaviour over time.
"I don't think the behaviour is new, but the means by which we're doing it is, and scary, I think, to everyone because it's new and it can possibly be shared instantly with billions of people," said Jeff Temple, a psychologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and lead author of the study.
He and his team studied nearly 1,000 high school students in Texas.
Twenty-eight per cent of teens said they engaged in sexting. Teens who sent explicit photos of themselves to others during their second year of high school were more likely to say that they had engaged in sexual activity the following year than other teens.