When children start high school age, parents begin to realize that their "little angels" are not children anymore. However, they are also not old enough to be classified as teenagers. Apart from that, there are also many ABG children who start tasting their role as adults; wearing makeup, sitting for hours in front of a computer screen busy playing Facebook, and no matter what objections from parents, start dating.
One big question is clearly embedded in the minds of most parents when their children begin to engage in dating: Do they have sex? Basically, in Indonesia, the minimum age for a person to be involved in sexual relations is 16 years. But, having a stable dating relationship at a very young age increases the risk of sex at an early age, as well as having friends in a higher class, often visiting social networking sites, and spending a little time with peers. This increase in risk can be explained at least in part, by the vulnerability of ABG children to social pressures in the social environment and self-identity and personal values and norms that are still formed. Even if your child is not sexually active, the risk of substance abuse and other behavioral problems can increase if many of his friends have sex.
A new study shows that sex at a young age can bring negative effects that persist into adulthood, most likely because activity occurs when the nervous system is still developing. This concern does not only focus on child sexual activity too early, but also that ABG children are more likely than others to be involved in patterns of risky sexual behavior that are known to be associated with a number of negative outcomes, especially for girls, ranging from high risk unwanted pregnancy, contracting HIV or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and other negative psychological effects.
Women involved in sex at a young age multiply the risk of contracting cervical cancer
Reported by the NHS UK, a study published by the British Journal of Cancer found that young women with middle to lower socioeconomic status had a higher risk of HPV infection - the virus that causes cervical cancer - because they tend to be involved in sexual relations four years faster than the group of young women whose social economic status is more prosperous.
Chief researcher, Dr. Silvia Francheschi, said that the increased risk of cervical cancer that is owned by a group of women who have sex at a young age is due to a longer incubation period for the virus can progress to the cancer stage.
The age at which a woman has a first baby is also an important factor, according to a study of 20,000 women by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Conversely, smoking and the number of sexual partners - which have long been considered as important factors - do not explain any differences.
What needs to be understood, this study is not intended to determine whether the age at which a woman first has sex is a risk factor for cervical cancer. Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by certain strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV), which spread through sexual contact. Cervical cancer is rare among women under the age of 25 years. However, based on what is already known, it makes sense that the sooner a woman first has sex, the greater the risk of being infected by HPV, and for a longer period of time before being completely diagnosed.
Having sex at a young age shows an increase in behavior and delinquency problems later on
Based on a study report published in Science Daily, a national study of more than 7,000 people found that teenagers who had sex at a too young age showed a 20 percent increase in juvenile delinquency compared to the average teenage group average wait a little longer for first time sex.
To determine the level of delinquency, students in the survey were asked how often in the past year they participated in various acts of mischief, including drawing graffiti, intentionally damaging property, stealing, or selling drugs.
In contrast, adolescents who wait longer for sex have a 50 percent lower level of delinquency a year later compared to other teenagers. And this trend continues until six years later.
Stacy Armor, co-author of the study as well as doctoral student in sociology at Ohio State University, explained that this study did not conclude that sexual activity itself must lead to behavioral problems, however, the decision to engage in sex at an age too young long before the average teenager in general (or legal age limit) is the cause of concern. In fact, this study shows the importance of acting within normal limits for the child age group
"Those who start having sex too early may not be ready to face the potential emotional, social, and behavioral consequences of their actions," said Dana Haynie, associate professor of sociology at Ohio State University.
Armor said, the relationship between early sex and delinquency might have something to do with the social context of the whole life of young teenagers. Having sex brings with it the feeling of being an adult. These children may feel they can do the same things as older teens, including delinquency. And the negative effects of early sex can take place through adolescence and early adulthood.
When the same respondent was surveyed again in 2002 - when most were between the ages of 18 and 26 - the results showed that the age at first time having sex remained associated with the level of delinquency.
Sex at a young age can affect brain development
The time of occurrence of a life event such as sexual activity, can have major consequences for adolescents, especially when the event occurs prematurely.
New research shows sex during early adolescence can affect mood and brain development that persist into adulthood, most likely because activity occurs when the nervous system is still developing.
Ohio State scientists use hamsters, which have physiological similarities in humans, to learn specifically how the body responds to sexual activity early in life to provide information that might apply to understanding human sexual development.
"There is a time point in the development of the nervous system when things change very quickly, and part of that change is preparation for adult reproductive and physiological behavior," said co-author, Zachary Weil. "It is possible that environmental and signaling experiences can strengthen their impact if they occur before the nervous system has been permanently awakened at an adult stage."
The researchers paired adult female hamsters with male hamsters when men were 40 days old, equivalent to the middle of human adolescence. They found that male animals with early sexual experience later showed a number of signs of depressive behavior, such as lower body mass, smaller reproductive tissue, and changes in cells in the brain than hamsters exposed to sex slower at later on or not involved in sex at all.
Among the changes in animal cells observed were higher levels of gene expression associated with inflammation in brain tissue and less complex cellular structures in the key signal regions of the brain. They also show signs of a stronger immune response for sensitivity tests, indicating their immune systems are in a state of high readiness even in the absence of infection - a sign of a potential autoimmune problem.
The combination of physiological responses in adulthood does not always cause damage, but shows that sexual activity during the development of the nervous system can be interpreted by the body as a stressor, the researchers explained.
"There is previous evidence that the age of first sexual experience is related to mental health problems in humans," Weil said. "But with all human research, there are a number of other variables involved, such as parental supervision and socioeconomic status, which may be involved with both first-age and depression."
Researchers warn, however, that this study should not be used to promote abstinence from adolescents, because they noted that the study was conducted on hamsters and that there was no certainty that conclusions would apply exactly to humans. Thus, further research is needed to understand the effects of sex during puberty.
This study, which was submitted at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, has not received peer-review for official publication in scientific journals.
The red thread of each of the studies above is that sex itself is not always a problem of behavior, but the timing of sexual initiation is important to consider. Teenagers need to be at a stage where their physical, emotional, and mental development is really mature for sex.
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