The popularity of social media has given teens a plethora of new spaces to interact. Aside from one-on-one in person communication, teens can now interact through Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, texting, and many other social media platforms. Socializing with friends is apart of most teens’ lives. So is sex. Since sex is an inevitable part of many teens’ lives, one has to wonder how it has translated over into social media. Has the influx of social media sites caused teens to engage in sexual activities sooner than they would have otherwise? Rick Nauert PHD can’t tell if teens are more sexual because of social media, but he says he (and anyone who is paying attention) can tell if a teen is sexually active based on their social media profiles. Nauert claims that a recent study proved that the more sexual a person is online, the more sexual they are offline. After studying 85 public Facebook profiles of college freshman, the researchers concluded that there is a “strong association between display of sexual references on Facebook and self-reported intention to initiate sexual intercourse” (Nauert). Nauert believes this information could be very useful in assisting parents and/or physicians who wish to initiate or continue conversation on safe sex with teens.
In 2007, Megan A. Moreno M.D., M.S.Ed, M.P.H, conducted a study that researched ‘risky behavior’ teens used on social media sites. Moreno and her fellow researchers studied more than 500 publicly available profiles of individuals 18 yrs. or older. They found that 120 profiles (24%) mentioned sexual behavior. The study discussed the dangers of posting sexual information. Moreno ended the study by creating a profile under the moniker ‘Dr.Meg.’ She sent teens whose profiles proved to display ‘risky information’ a message about the potential problems that could arise from their information being online. Moreno checked back in after three months on the profiles that had been sent a message and many of them had dramatically reduced the amount of ‘risky information’ they had displayed (Nyholm).
So, it’s clear that teens are being transparent about their sexuality online. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Post comments below.
Nyholm, Christine. “Teens on Social Networking Sites Risky Behavior.”
Suite101.com. N.p., 27 Jan. 2009. Web. 26 June 2012. <http://suite101.com/article/teens-on-social-networking-sites-risky- behavior-a92568>.
Nauert, Rick, and John M. Grohol. “Social Networking Sites Reveal Teens
Sexual Intent | Psych Central News.” Psych Central.com. N.p., 3 May 2010. Web. 2 July 2012. <http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/05/03/social- networking-sites-reveal-teens-sexual-intent/13428.html>.