What are your kids doing? Unprotected sex and other risky behaviors of adolescents in the US

¿Qué están haciendo tus hijos? Sexo sin protección y otras conductas riesgosas de los adolescentes en EEUU

It is true that young people are more used to using condoms than a few years ago, but it is also true that many of them still do not use it. And to contribute to parental insomnia, other dangerous behaviors have been added to the sexual practices of adolescents related to the moment we live.

Do you know what your children are doing right now? Because unprotected sex is just one of several risky behaviors of teens in the US, according to the annual survey of adolescents conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Once every two years, CDC conducts a survey of public and private high school students in grades 9-12 in the country. And the results are part of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, which has been in place since 1990.

Texting while driving

In addition to 43 percent of teens saying they don’t always wear a seatbelt while someone else was driving a car, nearly 17 percent admitted to being in a car with a driver who had drunk alcohol. And 5.4 percent reported having drunk before driving.

This situation becomes even more dangerous when combined with cell phone use. Nearly 40 percent claimed to have texted or emailed while driving. In 2018, car accidents were the leading cause of death for teenagers in the US.


More than 27 percent of the students surveyed said they had had sexual intercourse in the last three months before answering the questionnaire. And although almost 90 percent of them claimed to have used a contraceptive method in their last encounter, they generally use condoms only half the time they have sex.

As we know, the great risk of this behavior is not only facing an unwanted teenage pregnancy, but the possibility of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can be chronic and even fatal. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, teens and young adults account for more than 50 percent of newly diagnosed STDs, and they only represent 25 percent of the sexually active population.


During 2019, 32.7 percent of high school students admitted to using e-cigarettes, compared to only 13.2 percent vaping in 2017. Fortunately, only 6 percent said they smoked tobacco.

Vaping is a popular practice among the high school population, but also dangerous, as teens are at higher risk of becoming addicted to nicotine and other substances due to his brain development.

Various investigations have exposed the risks of vaping to the lungs, something that is more concerning when the world faces the pandemic of coronavirus that damages, mainly, the lungs.

Other drugs and suicide

30 percent of teens surveyed admitted to drinking, while almost 22 percent smoke marijuana and just over seven percent, prescription opioids.

The CDC survey also revealed that gay and bisexual adolescents suffer more violence in their environments, thus they are at higher risk of suicide. 23 percent of LGBT youth admitted to having experienced a suicide attempt, something that was only reported by five percent of heterosexuals.


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