Are smartphones reducing sex by teens?

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Smartphones are everywhere — in malls, in restaurants, on the street, in driver’s seats (unfortunately) and in the hands of just about every teenager one sees.  Parents worry about the use of phones, particularly for texting, limits personal interaction and even face-to-face conversation.

Perhaps, but a new study by the Center for Disease Control says an unanticipated impact on smartphone use by teens may also mean they are spending so more time texting and browsing the Internet and less time having sex.

In the 1980s, 51 percent of teenage girls in high school were having sex as early as age 14.  By 2013, that rate dropped dramatically to 44 percent.  Even more dramatic was the drop of sexual activity among boys — going from 60 percent in the 80s to 47 percent by 2013.

Dr. Brooke Boker, a an Adolescent Medicine Specialist at the Children’s National Health System, says the increase of use of smartphones by teenagers helps provide more information via the Internet, social media and messaging and spurs more knowledge of sexually transmitted diseases and other risks.

“They’re looking on the web,” Bokor the The Washington Post . “They’re looking for guidance from parents, guardians and physicians. They can and will make positive decisions for their own health, both sexual and otherwise. We really need to be prepared to treat our youth and young adults as educated consumers.”

Also reports the Post:

One good example, she said: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a private non-profit organization, for example, runs Bedsider.org. This week’s featured articles include “Not awkward: 5 tips for talking to anyone about sex” and “<3 your birth control.”

Those youngsters having sex are also learning to use protection.  The CDC study says teenage girls who are sexually active require use of condoms by their male partners.  The study also shows use of the Plan B “morning after pill” increased 22 percent by teenage girls.

On the flip side, smartphones also allow teenagers to take and exchange revealing photos of themselves and others, but some argue that looking is not touching, a debate for another time.

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