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Sexting Is the ‘New Normal’ For Teens, Study Shows

Sexting is common among teens, and not just the ones taking part in high-risk behaviors, a new study shows. Jeff Temple, of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, looked at data from several years of surveys filled out anonymously by local high school students. He found that sexting wasn't associated with risky behaviors in many cases, and was more of an indicator of general sexual activity. "That we did not find a link between sexting and risky sexual behavior over time may suggest that sexting is a new 'normal' part of adolescent sexual development," the study concludes. Temple looked at data collected in 2011 and 2012, before anonymous and "ephemeral" messaging apps like Snapchat gained widespread popularity, so sexting numbers and methods may have changed since then — but as Temple points out, the behavior itself is not new, just the medium on which it is taking place. The new risk is that those sexts may be spread accidentally or maliciously, as evidenced by last month's leak of celebrities' private photos.

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