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Teens who sexted struggled more with emotional competence, and they had less emotional awareness than their peers, the study indicated. Teens who sexted also were more likely to report intentions to engage in sexual activity and they were more likely to feel that their peers, family and the media approved of this behavior.

"Parents probably don't think about sexual behavior as much in 12 or 13 year olds," said Dr. Hina Talib, an attending physician Nike More Uptempo White Black in the division of adolescent medicine at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York City. "This study highlights that middle school aged teens can be vulnerable, and that doctors and parents should be screening for these behaviors and talking about media safety. This group is at risk by the way they make decisions. They think they're invincible."

By Serena GordonMONDAY, Jan. 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) More than 20 percent of at risk seventh graders have "sexted" and those middle schoolers were much more likely to also have engaged in some type of sexual behavior, a new study finds.

The findings were published online Jan. 6 in the journal Pediatrics.

In the study, 410 seventh graders from five urban public middle schools in Rhode Island completed surveys between 2009 and 2012. All of the children had been identified by school counselors, nurses or administrators as having behavioral or emotional difficulties.

2.7 times more likely to have oral sex and 2.2 times more likely to have vaginal sex than their non sexting peers, the findings showed.

sexual messages via the Internet, and 2 percent said they had sent sexual photos that way.

Sexting is when someone sends sexually explicit messages and/or pictures by cellphone. Seventeen percent of the children surveyed said they had sent a sexually explicit message during the past six months. Five percent of the seventh graders admitted to sending sexual photos via cellphone.

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"Sexting is almost normalized by their environment. Parents can denormalize it and teach their kids that it's not normal, it's not safe and it has ramifications and consequences that they probably haven't considered. A discussion about sexting can be a way to start talking about how healthy relationships should be," Talib said.

Seventeen percent of the teens said they had sent sexual text messages in the past six months, while 5 percent said they had sent sexual photos by cellphone in the previous six months. Nine percent of the teens said they had sent Nike Air More Uptempo 2016

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While teens may be more savvy with technology than their parents are, young teens still lack the maturity to fully understand the consequences of their actions, the researchers said.

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Talib said she suspected the rate of sexting would likely be lower in middle school Nike Uptempo 97 Urban Haze

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Many of today's teens and preteens have access to the Internet and mobile devices, and this is changing the way kids communicate. Seventy one percent of 12 to 13 year olds had access to a cellphone, 68 percent had their own cellphone and 23 percent had a smartphone, according to the study.

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"Sexting behavior was not uncommon among middle school youth and co occurred with sexual behavior. These data suggest that phone behaviors, even flirtatious messages, may be an indicator of risk.

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Teens who sexted were twice as likely to touch genitals over clothing, Nike Uptempo Black

The students completed written surveys about their sexting behaviors, sexual risk behaviors and sexual activity. They were also given written tests to assess their emotional competency.

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One expert said the age at which this behavior is occurring is probably surprising to many.

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20 Percent of Seventh Graders Have

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Teens who sexted were almost three times more likely to have oral sex and more than twice as likely to have vaginal sex, according to the study.

Those who engaged in sexting were more likely to have greater physical maturity than their peers. Hispanic teens were more likely than other groups to send sexual photos via text message, according to the study. Girls were far more likely than boys to send sexual photos by text message.

students who didn't have emotional or behavioral difficulties, but she said it's still important for parents to talk with their children about sexting.

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