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.
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.
This study comprised a "Social media impact on teens sexuality" of Latino youth aged 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 sexual risk over time and whether parental monitoring moderated the relationship.
Although adolescents exchange SMS at high rates, parental monitoring remains vital to parent-child relationships and can moderate SMS frequency and sexual Social media impact on teens sexuality behaviors, despite parental influence diminishing and peer pressure and social influences increasing during adolescence. Risky sexual behaviors may lead to increased likelihood of sexually transmitted infections STIs and unintended pregnancies [ 1 - 3 ].
Adolescence, defined as years of age, is "Social media impact on teens sexuality" phase of rapid physical, emotional, and cognitive development [ 4 ]. This period is marked by an increased importance on social relationships when youth are focused on developing a sense of self and personal identity [ 5 ]. Adolescents use mobile phones and the Web to interact with both known and unknown peers to establish and maintain social connections [ 7 ].
Compared with adults older than 25 years, youth between 12 and 24 years of age are the most
Social media impact on teens sexuality users of new technology and are more likely to be connected to the virtual world, regardless of socioeconomic status SESrace, or ethnicity [ 1112 ].
Social media platforms such as short message service SMS, or texting and social networking sites SNS allow self-expression, intimacy, and privacy for adolescents [ 1013 ]. Users are able to set their own preferences to convey messages about their social identity, in the same manner that face-to-face interactions allow, but on a global scale and in contexts that are not always monitored by adults [ 14 ]. Indeed, social media is a promising channel to deliver health information, including health promotion and disease prevention messages [ 15 ].
However, others suggest that Internet and social media platforms might also have negative health consequences due to a false belief of privacy leading to more provocative behavior and discussion around drinking, sex, violence, suicide ideation, and bullying, coupled with less parental monitoring [ 917 ]. The American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications and Media has also argued that although social media may facilitate socialization
Social media impact on teens sexuality communication, enhance learning opportunities, and increase access to health information, it may also lead to cyber bullying or harassment, sexting, and depression [ 18 ].
Yet, there is little empirical evidence on the impact social media use has on sexual health behaviors. Landry et al [ 19 ] concluded that Latino adolescents who sent or received more than SMS per day were significantly more likely to ever have vaginal sex and adolescents who logged in to a "Social media impact on teens sexuality" networking account at least once per day were significantly more likely to ever have vaginal sex. Their findings are consistent with Frank [ 20 ], who reported a relationship between excessive technology use among teens and increased health risk behaviors and poorer perceived health.
Teens who hyper-text ie, send or receive more than messages per day and hyper-network ie, 3 or more hours on social sites per day were much more likely to be involved with unhealthy uses of technology. In fact, Frank [ 20 ] reported that Additionally, Frank [ 20 ] reported that minorities, children of parents with less education, and teenagers from homes without a father were more likely to engage in hypertexting and hyper networking.
One protective factor in reducing sexual risk behaviors during adolescence is parental monitoring [ 21 - 24 ]. Still, other investigators have linked higher parental support to a delay in sexual debut for both girls and boys [ 27 ]. Although youth are the most extensive users of new technology and are more likely to be virtually connected, regardless of SES, race, or ethnicity, there are racial and ethnic disparities in the prevalence of sexual risky behavior.
For example, Latino youth often engage in riskier sexual behaviors than their White counterparts. Compared to non-Latino Whites, Latino youth have higher rates of STIs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis [ 28 ].
Additionally, Latino youth are just as likely as their White and Black counterparts to be extensive social media users [ 113031 ], so we would expect an association between social media and sexual behavior among the larger population of youth. However, the Latino youth population are unique in that they face higher sexual risk behaviors and additional risk factors such as poverty, acculturative stress, and familial and cultural barriers that potentially segregate them from the larger society put them at even greater risk of negative behaviors [ 123233 ].
Given the limited but growing body of research surrounding the impact of social media on sexual health, investigating these relationships is important for public health practice and reducing negative health outcomes. This study used two rounds of data from a longitudinal study of Latino youth to investigate sexual risk behavior over time.
We questioned whether the rate of change in sexual behavior was related to social media utilization and frequency of use over the same time. Also, it was hypothesized that parental monitoring moderates the relationship between sexual risk behavior and social media utilization, such that when parental monitoring is higher, the association between social media utilization and sexual risk behavior will be weaker, relative to when parental monitoring is lower.
Participants were recruited from 12 public high schools in Maryland, United States. Participants completed baseline T1 and month follow-up T2 surveys conducted Social media impact on teens sexuality part of a program evaluation of the Empowering Latino Youth Project ELYP between spring and fall ELYP is a 5-year cluster-randomized controlled trial of a teen pregnancy prevention program.
All participants provided parental consent
Social media impact on teens sexuality youth assent to participate in ELYP. Due to the data being from an intervention study, final analyses statistically controlled for participation in the intervention or control group. Participants who completed the baseline but no follow-up survey were Participants lost to follow up were more likely to be male, slightly older, born outside of the United States, and completed the baseline survey in Spanish.
Participants lost to follow up also had statistically significantly higher sexual risk scores at baseline. Excluding participants lost to follow up from the analytic sample is underestimating the sexual risk score over time, therefore, providing a more conservative estimate.
To ensure privacy and reduce reporting bias, surveys were administered via individual laptops with audio capability for youth with low-literacy levels. The surveys were translated and back translated by native Spanish speakers affiliated with the partner community organization then pretested for Social media impact on teens sexuality and accuracy.
Upon survey Social media impact on teens sexuality, the data were stored in an encrypted file to be read only by the survey design software, SNAP surveys. Participants with a mobile phone reported the following behaviors using their phone: SMS frequency was dichotomized at based on Pew data that suggest the median number of SMS per day for Hispanic adolescents is [ 734 ].
Those with any account were asked about their frequency of logging in, which was dichotomized into daily
Social media impact on teens sexuality versus less frequent. The parental monitoring scale was adapted from Silverberg and Small [ 35 ] and validated in a Positive Youth Development Survey for Latinos [ 36 ]. The six measured variables were as follows: We first examined bivariate relationships between sexual risk behavior and mobile phone and social media use.
In bivariate analyses data not shownthere was no relationship between sexual risk behavior and access to a mobile phone, SMS with friends, or logging in to SNS once per day; so these variables were dropped from multivariate models. Mixed-effects linear regression was used to examine the relationship between social media variables and the change in sexual risk between baseline and follow-up, while adjusting for time-varying and time-invariant covariates and allowing random effects for within and between subjects.
Additionally, we examined if the relationship between social media and sexual risk was moderated at different levels of parental monitoring by entering an interaction term into the multivariate model.
Final models were adjusted for gender, age, survey language, and intervention group.
Table 1 lists self-reported baseline demographic characteristics of the study sample. The majority of respondents were in ninth grade at baseline In terms of SNS accounts, Facebook use decreased over time Unadjusted changes in sexual risk, social media utilization, and parental monitoring at baseline T1 and month follow up T2.
The results of mixed-effects regression analyses are presented in Table 3. The unconditional means model was estimated to calculate intraclass correlation ICC. Further, ICC calculations suggest that In the first multivariate model Model 2only variables that were significantly associated with sexual risk in bivariate analyses were included.
Parameter estimates from mixed-effects models for change in sexual risk from T1 to T2. Age and gender were statistically significant so these variables are "Social media impact on teens sexuality" in the tables. The other control variables were not statistically significant. In the second set of multivariate analyses Model 3we extended Model 2 to include an interaction term for high SMS and Social media impact on teens sexuality monitoring, along with significant predictors from Model 2.
Results from Model 3 indicated that, on average, sexual risk behaviors increased over time and were significantly higher for males and older youth.
Further, parental monitoring interacted with high SMS.
The negative interaction was graphed Figure 1 and indicated that higher levels of parental monitoring were related to a weaker association between high SMS and sexual risk. Understanding predictors of sexual risk behavior is imperative for health and economic well-being over the life span, especially for underserved Social media impact on teens sexuality such as the Latino community.
A plethora of studies have focused on sexual risk-taking behaviors, but with the proliferation of mobile technology and connectedness over the past decade, it is becoming clearer that social media utilization is also part of this relationship.
Yet, there are still gaps in the literature with respect to social media use and sexual risk behaviors among adolescents in general. To our knowledge, this is the first study to longitudinally examine social media and sexual risk and the moderating effects of parental monitoring. This study found a statistically significant positive association between high-frequency SMS and increased sexual risk Social media impact on teens sexuality over a month period.
Social media provides a context in which adolescents, who have a need for social acceptance and gratification and are still developing self-regulation skills, may find themselves vulnerable to pressures or unanticipated risk opportunities.
Social media has the potential to expand and amplify existing peer relationships, which are well documented as influencing risk behaviors [ 3940 ]. Social media may also provide increased access to partners that are more experienced, leading to increased communication "Social media impact on teens sexuality" sex because of the perceived privacy of social media [ 41 ]. Thus, those who are more active on social media could partake in more risky behaviors because of a larger peer network influencing their attitudes and social norms.
Although these findings indicate a decrease in high frequency SMS and Facebook use between baseline and follow up, this does not necessarily imply a reduction in overall use. Adolescents are turning to newly developed software applications eg, apps that allow for communication within the app.
We observe this as a result of the sharp increase in a newer app such as Instagram. Other research suggests similar results of a decline in Facebook use among US youth [ 42 ]. Although this study found a statistically significant association between increased sexual risk behaviors and high frequency SMS use over a month period, parental monitoring was suggested to be a protective factor in this study.
Results suggest increased sexual risk among higher SMS users, but higher levels of parental monitoring moderated this relationship in the hypothesized direction. Thus, parental monitoring was associated with lower levels of reported sexual risk behaviors despite high frequency SMS. Specifically within the Latino community, Dittus and Jaccard [ 27 ] discovered that parental monitoring influenced delays in sexual intercourse, while Huebner and Howell [ 23 ] found parental monitoring and parenting style impacted having only one sexual partner and Social media impact on teens sexuality use a condom.
While social media platforms are traditionally less monitored by adults, other research has suggested that mobile phones are one mechanism for parents to maintain a relationship with their adolescents while still affording them the autonomy and self-discovery they seek during this time [ 48 ].
This is important because in the aforementioned study, greater frequency of parental calls was associated with less adolescent-reported truthfulness, and parents calling when upset was associated with less parental knowledge and poorer family relations. Similarly, another study reported that parental social and technology supervision increased risky online activities [ 49 ].
The findings in this study are not intended to negate the substantial benefits of using social media in public health programs. However, our findings compel practitioners, parents and youth to be practical about the risks of high frequency SMS and other connections to expansive networks, and devise strategies for harnessing social media for good.
For example, social media provides an excellent platform to strengthen supportive bonds and reach underserved youth to deliver health-related content [ 31 ], but public health professionals, policymakers, and parents should also embrace programs such as those that have encouraged adolescents to remove sexual content from their social networking profiles [ 50 ]. Other potential ways for parents to get involved is using for themselves or suggesting to their children, innovative technology, such as apps around sexual health and health-seeking behaviors that are being developed at a rapid pace.
For example, Hablemos is a technology-based program attempting to close the communication gap between Latino parents and children through a parent-centered tool that is culturally appropriate and aims to empower Latino parents to have discussions about sexuality and contraception [ 51 ].
Specifically for youth, the team, An Instant Gratification Situation, aims to develop content, stories, and messaging for social media platforms targeted toward youth for obtaining "Social media impact on teens sexuality" health services [ 51 Social media impact on teens sexuality. These platforms can be useful in engaging youth where they are—on mobile phones using social media—and continue to promote positive uses of social media platforms.
There are several limitations specific to this study. This was attenuated by research assistants, not affiliated with the program, administering the surveys. Adolescent sexual risk taking and its consequences remain a global public health concern. Empirical evidence on the impact that social media.
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