A new study shows that teenagers who own smartphones as opposed to regular cell phones have much more sex on average, and are twice as likely to engage in sexual activity with someone they met online.
Those with smartphones are also more likely to be sexually active in general, and more likely to say they had been approached for sex online, researchers from the University of Southern California said.
The study was presented at the annual meeting of the America Public Health Association.
Eric Rice, a researcher from the university's School of Social Work, said smartphones might not directly cause risky online sexual behavior in teens, but that the phones just provide easier access to it.
"It's a tool through which this sort of behavior can happen," Mr. Rice said.
Parents have come up with ways to monitor their children's online activity at home, it is difficult to keep track of the activity of a child with a smartphone.
"I don't know that we've thought through quite as clearly what it means for teens to have the internet on their phones 24 hours a day," he said.
Rice said sex education programs should start to include discussions regarding the risks of seeking sex online.
Parents should use this info as an opportunity to open a dialogue with their children in order to teach them about safe sex.
James Gilbert | Elite.