ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) — Adding the word “sexting” to the birds and the bees talk may not be a bad idea.
According to Time, a new study has found that many teenagers are sending and receiving sexually explicit texts and photos at a very young age.
The study comes out of Drexel University, where college students were surveyed and asked if they’d ever sent or received “sexually explicit text messages or images” before the age of 18.
Fifty-four percent of the respondents answered yes; a massive jump from the 20 percent previously believed to be sexting in the general teenage population.
“We were shocked by the prevalence and the frequency of sexting among minors,” says David DeMatteo, an associate professor of psychology and law at Drexel and one of the study’s authors.
What is probably most shocking was that sexting began as early as 13-years-old for some participants.
Many of these same participants did not suffer any backlash, bullying, or humiliation from sexting.
“We were struck by how many of those surveyed seem to think of sexting as a normal, standard way of interacting with their peers,” DeMatteo continues.
The study comes at a time when apps like Snapchat and Tinder have stirred up controversy over explicit images on teenagers’ phones.
The CDC has even funded research that revealed a link between increased sexting and increase sexually risky behavior.