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(WXYZ) - A new study finds sexting is beginning earlier than parents might think.
According to research published in the journal, Pediatrics, 22 percent of kids between the ages of 12 and 14 admitted to sexting within the past six months.
The study included more than 400 students in Rhode Island.
The majority of those who admitted to sexting said they had only exchanged sexually-explicit text messages, but about 23 percent of those who admitted to sexting also said they had sent or received nude photos.
Researchers also found those who admitted to sexting were four to seven times more likely to engage in sexual behavior as a teen, compared to kids who had never sexted.
Experts say the study should serve as a warning to parents that sexting is happening as early as middle school and that it should be included as a topic during discussions about "the birds and the bees."