JMIR Public Health Surveillance
Background: Adolescent sexual risk taking and its consequences remain a global public health concern. Empirical evidence on the impact that social media has on sexual health behaviors among youth is sparse.
Objective: The study aimed to examine the relationship between social media and the change in sexual risk over time and whether parental monitoring moderates this relationship.
Methods: This study comprised a sample of 555 Latino youth aged 13-19 years from Maryland, United States completing baseline and follow-up surveys. Mixed-effects linear regression was used to examine the relationship between social media and the change in sexual risk over time and whether parental monitoring moderated the relationship.
Results: Sexual risk behaviors significantly increased between baseline (T1) and follow up (T2) (mean=0.432 vs mean=0.734, P<.001). Youth sending more than 100 text messages per day had significantly higher sexual risk scores (beta=1.008, P<.001) but significantly larger declines in sexual risk scores for higher levels of parental monitoring (beta=−.237, P=.009).
Conclusions: Although adolescents exchange SMS at high rates, parental monitoring remains vital to parent-child relationships and can moderate SMS frequency and sexual risk behaviors, despite parental influence diminishing and peer pressure and social influences increasing during adolescence.
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Landry, M., Turner, M. M., Vyas, A. N., & Wood, S. (2017). Social Media and Sexual Behavior Among Adolescents: Is there a link?. JMIR Public Health Surveillance, 3 (2). http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/publichealth.7149