The Link Between Smartphones & Unprotected Teen Sex

Today’s generation is ruled by technology and every teenager is desperate to own the latest smartphone, but the question on every parent’s mind is ‘should I buy my teen one?’. It often does not occur to teenagers that a smartphone has the capability of risking their safety and some parents are equally unaware of the dangers they present. If you have already given your teen a smartphone then it is definitely time to start being more vigilant and monitoring their mobile activity.

Recently, assistant professor of Social Work at the University of Southern California, Eric Rice carried out a study into the habits of teenagers in relation to growing technology. The results were really quite alarming. It is suggested that when teens have a smartphone which offers round the clock internet access they are more likely to become sexually active and also have a greater risk of becoming sexually intimate with a stranger they have come into contact online! The study was conducted among high school students in Los Angeles in 2011 and indicated that 47% of the teens who owned a smartphone were sexually active while only 35% of those who didn’t own one were.

Those figures are enough alone to have parents snatching back those smartphones from their teenagers, but the most worrying aspect is that teenagers often have no idea of the dangers associated with being sexually active. Teenagers are more likely to participate in unprotected sex which can lead not only to unwanted pregnancy, but also to a number of sexually transmitted infections and diseases. According to the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 40% of all sexually active teens in the United States admit to having unprotected sex.

So where do smartphones come in to the equation? The thing to bear in mind is that smartphones are essentially portable computers which provide 24/7 access to the internet. This provides them with the often unrestricted opportunity to  access websites featuring adult content. There is often the opportunity to befriend strangers and in some cases this can lead to sexually inappropriate chat and in extreme cases – real life meetings for sex.

If your teenager already has a smartphone, there is no need to take it away from them. You should spend some time educating them on appropriate use and online safety. However, you can also take things one step further by installing mobile phone monitoring software on the smartphone. This allows you to intercept and view text messages and images, check out internet browsing history and even listen in on calls. This is done discreetly so that your teen will never be aware of it. This can let you see if your child is listening to the rules you have laid out and also allow you to step in when there is a problem. Often parents just feel more secure in the knowledge that they can monitor what their teenager is doing while others see it as a necessary safety measure to protect their child.

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