What should parents do if they discover their teens are sexting?
"If a parent finds out that their kids have been sexting, they need to have a frank talk with their child about it," said Dr. Elizabeth Alderman, professor of clinical pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York, who was not involved with the study. Alderman said parents should seek assistance from professionals, avoid yelling at their child, and most importantly, ensure their teen is safe.
It is better yet for parents to discuss proper cellphone use with teens before they start using phones, Alderman said.
"Parents should be informed on how to talk to their kids about the use of cellphones and sexting," she said. "Before giving your kids a cellphone, they need to talk about the responsibility of being given this privilege. Parents should talk about the fact that it should only be used for certain types of communication."
Rice said conversations about sexting can open up conversations about safe sex practices between parents and teens.
"Talking to teens about sex is never easy," he said. "Sexting may be a nice entry point for parents to talk to teens about sex and birth control."