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Jim Liebelt Christian Blog and Commentary

Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord . Jim has over 35 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on MedicalXpress.

The good news is that adolescent "sexting" is not at epidemic levels as reported in some media headlines. The bad news is that it also has not decreased despite preventive efforts by educators and others. Most commonly, the term sexting has been used to describe incidents where teenagers take nude or semi-nude photos or videos of themselves and exchange that content via text or private social media messages. While intended to be shared with trusted romantic partners, these images also can find their way into the hands of others.

While national studies have contributed to the understanding of sexting behavior among minors, the prevalence estimates are dated (prior to January 2011), and therefore, little is known about its frequency and scope on a national level in recent years.

A new study by researchers at Florida Atlantic University and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is providing a much-needed update to what is currently known about the nature and extent of sexting among youth today.

The study, published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, examined prevalence rates for sending and receiving sexually explicit images or video among a nationally-representative sample of 5,593 American middle and high school students (ages 12 to 17). Researchers focused only on explicit images and videos (as some previous studies have conflated the picture by also including explicit texts) in order to isolate those experiences that have the greatest potential for problematic outcomes.

Results show that across all sociodemographic variables explored, the vast majority of students were not participating in sexting. Approximately 14 percent of middle and high school students had received a sexually explicit image from a boyfriend or girlfriend, while 13.6 percent said they received such an image from someone who was not a current romantic partner. About 11 percent of students reported sending a sext to a boyfriend or girlfriend.

"Findings from our study provide a very important message for youth who may believe media headlines that suggest sexting is more widespread than it actually is," said Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D., a professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice within FAU's College for Design and Social Inquiry and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center, who co-authored the study with Justin Patchin, Ph.D., a professor of criminal justice at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. "Showing adolescents clear evidence that a relatively small proportion of teens engage in sexting could actually result in decreased overall participation since it underscores that it is not as normal, commonplace, or widespread as they might believe."

Source: MedicalXpress
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-07-nationwide-teen-sexting-good-news.html

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Phys.org.

About 3.5 million students are suspended each year, and school punishment has been tied to a variety of negative outcomes. A new study took a longitudinal look at how school suspensions are related to offending behaviors that include assault, stealing, and selling drugs. It found that rather than decreasing subsequent offending, school suspensions increase this behavior.

The study, by researchers at Bowling Green State University and Eastern Kentucky University, is published in Justice Quarterly, a publication of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

"Our findings suggest that suspending students from school can serve as a negative and harmful turning point in adolescence that increases offending over time," according to Thomas James Mowen, assistant professor of sociology at Bowling Green State University, who led the study. "Intensifying disciplinary strategies—what some have called the criminalization of school discipline—may do more harm than good and could result in more crime in schools, neighborhoods, and communities."

Source: Phys.org
https://phys.org/news/2019-07-school-suspensions-subsequent.html

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on HealthDay.

Too much social media might be too much for the mental well-being of teenagers, new research suggests.

The more that teens used social media and watched television, the greater their risk of depression, the study found.

"Our research reveals that increased time spent using some forms of digital media in a given year predicts depressive symptoms within that same year," said senior study author Patricia Conrod, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Montreal.

Just how might the connection work?

According to the study co-author Elroy Boers, "Social media and television are forms of media that frequently expose adolescents to images of others operating in more prosperous situations, such as other adolescents with perfect bodies and a more exciting or rich lifestyle." Boers is a post-doctoral researcher in the department of psychiatry at the university.

The study included nearly 4,000 Canadian teens who were followed between ages 12 and 16. Each year, the teens provided information about their amounts of four different types of screen time: social media, television, video gaming and computer use.

The teens also completed questionnaires on various depressive symptoms over the four years of the study.

Higher-than-average social media use and time in front of the television were associated with more severe symptoms of depression. And the more time teens used social media and watched TV, the more severe their depression symptoms, the findings showed.

Higher levels of video gaming and computer use weren't associated with depression symptoms.

The findings could prove useful in preventing depression in teens, the study authors said.

"Regulating teens' social media and television use might be one way to help young people manage depressed mood or vulnerability to depressive symptoms," Conrod said in a university news release.

A child psychiatrist said the findings call for due diligence from parents.

"Adolescents' social media and television use should be regulated to prevent the development of depression and to reduce existing symptoms," contends Dr. Victor Fornari. He's vice chair of child & adolescent psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y.

The findings were published July 15 in JAMA Pediatrics.

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