Young teens who  sext are six times more likely to engage in sexual activity, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

“These findings call attention to the need to train health educators, paediatricians and parents on how best to communicate with young adolescents about sexting in relation to sexual behaviour,” said lead author Eric Rice.

“The sexting conversation should occur as soon as the child acquires a cell phone.”

The study also found the teenagers who send lots of text messages are more likely to send a sext, while those who receive sexts are more likely to send a sext of their own.

From the 1300 young teens interviewed, 20 percent of them who possessed a phone that could text reported having recived a sext, while 5 percent of the teens admitted to having sent a sext.