The 9th annual US CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health surveyed 1 982 adults (with and without children) to find out what their top health concerns for teenagers under the age of 18 were.

READ MORE: How to talk to your teens about social media

The study found that the top three concerns were childhood obesity, bullying and drug abuse the same top concerns revealed last year’s survey. Internet safety and child abuse and neglect followed, and making its debut in the top 10 was sexting, ranked at number six. (See the full list below)

The survey found that sexting was a greater concern than smoking, school violence, teen pregnancy and stress.

According to The Huffington Post, teen sexting has been linked to an increase in sexual activity, harassment and legal trouble.

READ MORE: Teens are turning to alcohol to cope

A previous study published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that one out of four teens had sent a sext and that 76% of the teens who admitted to sexting, also admitted to have engaged in sexual intercourse.

The real concern here is how well educated teenagers are about the consequences of sexting. It can lead to peer pressure and cyberbullying, especially since any explicit images or texts posted on the internet will probably remain there forever.

With this list in mind, perhaps it would be a good idea for schools to consider incorporating online sex education to the existing sex education curriculum.

Survey findings: 

Image source: C.S. Mott Children's Hospital
Image source: C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital

What are your top health concerns for South African teens? 


Sources: Huffington Post, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health