Children are having sex at younger ages - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Children are having sex at younger ages

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A disturbing new study shows children are having sex at younger ages.

The demographics in southwest Georgia put children at greater risk for early sexual behavior.

It's related to a family's income and education level.

According to a study by Iowa state university, one in four low-income children between the ages of 11 and 16 is having sex.

For many their first time was before age 12.

"It unfortunately does not surprise me," said Amy Boney.

Boney is the director of the Firefly House Children Advocacy Center.

"We're seeing children as young as seven, eight and nine being sexually aggressive with children as young as three, four and five," said Boney.

"Sex and drugs are two of the first things I like to let them know about," said Kenyada Hill.

Hill has a 14-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son; she knows the consequences of having sex at an early age.

"I had to work, I wanted to go to cheerleading practice but I had to babysit a kid," said Hill.

One boy researchers studied had intercourse at age nine and fathered four children by the time he was 18.

"We're seeing that statistic come through to life, research shows children in low income households are more likely to have sex earlier," said Hill.

"I think sometimes children from low income families are at such high risk because the parents are struggling so hard to keep that roof over their head," said Boney.

And kids are more likely to have sex if they've committed a juvenile crime, were out past curfew, and had instability at home.

"I just tell them about it, the diseases, and the consequences you have to pay," said Hill.

Researchers say because early sexual activity is so common, schools need to rethink their abstinence programs and start them with younger students.

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