By Victoria Barker
THE need to be accepted by their peers and to seem cool are some of the reasons why teenagers are turning to sex texting, or "sexting".
Teenagers my paper spoke to confirmed it happens here, though not as openly as it does in places like Australia and the United States.
Student Claudette van Maarschalkerweerd, 15, said that "sexting" is quite common in her all-girls school in Katong.
Said the Secondary 3 student: "Kids are open about it when they're at school or with friends, but of course they keep it from their parents."
She added that "it is not so much pictures, but more of suggestive text" that is shared.
The craving for peer approval is one of the main reasons teenagers participate in "sexting", says an article in the Sydney Morning Herald last week.
The ease with which image files can be sent to the Internet through third-generation mobile technology, or 3G, exacerbates the problem of such photos falling into the wrong hands, said the report.
Claudette's mother, Mrs Rosanna van Maarschalkerweerd, 49, feels that teens today are more sexually aware than they were five or 10 years ago.
"Sex now is so in-your-face, be it in movies or music videos. I'm not sure how rampant the problem is for now, but the groundwork for it to get worse is definitely there," said the housewife.
Psychiatrist Simon Siew, 54, attributed the trend to the availability of technology to young people today.
He said: "It's too easy to do such things when everyone owns a mobile phone."
Still, both Dr Siew and parents my paper spoke to agreed that raising awareness among youths of the detrimental effects of "sexting" is important.
Said Mrs van Maarschalkerweerd: "Parents definitely need to be more willing to discuss such sexual issues with their children. It's important they know what's right and what's wrong.
"They need to understand why it's a bad idea, rather than do it now and then deal with the repercussions."
For more my paper stories click here.
You teen could be SEXting