A study published this month in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found that one in four teens admitted to sending sexually-explicit text messages, or "sexts." The researchers were curious as to whether the practice of sending a sext could give clues to teens' overall sexual behavior.
The researchers asked teens if they had sent a sext, asked another teen to send a sext, or had refused to send a sext, and whether those choices related to other sexual choices, such as whether the teens were sexually active or not.
The study authors found that the sexting behavior of teens can indeed be indicative of their physical sexual behavior. The researchers did not say whether this was a bad thing, however, because they didn't know whether the sexting actually led to the sexual behavior or vice versa. The researchers said that sexting wasn't necessarily harmful, unless it was specifically used to harass or bully. In California, teens who send sexts can be expelled from school.