US teenagers with smartphones are more likely to be solicited for sex via the internet or have sex with someone they met online, according to a recent study.
The research, conducted by the University of Southern California and presented at the American Public Health Association's annual conference this week, reveals that young people with smartphones are 1.5 times more likely to report being sexually active, almost twice as likely to have been approached for sex online and more than twice as likely to have sex with a partner encountered on the internet than teenagers who don't have internet access on their phones.
The data gathered from a sample group of 1,839 students within the Los Angeles United School District also showed that non-heterosexual teenagers are five times more likely than heterosexual smartphone-using teens to seek sex partners online.
Of the results, Hailey Winetrobe, MPH, CHES, researcher at USC, said: "We -- parents, health educators, physicians -- must recognize that cell phones are yet another new way for adolescents to meet sex partners. Parents and school health professionals should talk to their teens about being safe in meeting people online and in using condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies."