By Jen Kastner
MIDLAND- A new study released by the University of Texas Medical Branch shows teens are sexting at a much higher rate than what was previously thought. The Basin is no exception to the problem. Midland Police Department says kids in the Basin as young as 10 years old are sexting their peers.
Samaritan Counseling Center in Midland says young sexters aren't just showing legs and thighs.
"Oh no. They are showing full body exposure," Licensed Professional Counselor, Patricia Homer, said.
The study found that close to 30% of teens have sent nude pictures of themselves through email or text.
"Sending nude photos is actually a form of cyber-tattooing because once it's out there in cyber space on the Internet and on your cell phone, it's there for good. It's your mark," Homer said.
Researchers also found that sexting teens are more likely to start having sex before their peers who don't sext. Experts say young minds can't seem to grasp the idea these texts and photos are permanent.
Midland Police Officer, Larry Woodruff, said, "When those photos are deleted, we still have the capability of producing anything that was put out on that phone." He adds, "As a parent, I think parents need to start checking their children's phones just to see what's in them. There's nothing wrong with doing that because they're the ones paying the bills."
Researchers are now working on a follow up study exploring the psychological impact of sexting.