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Boys and girls now meet, date, flirt and even have sex online.
In a study by South West Grid for Learning and Plymouth University, 38 per cent of 13- to 18-year-olds said they had received a sexually explicit message and 39 per cent admitted sharing intimate images.
She found out by accident when her computer, which she shared with her youngest son Josh, had a virus.
While the consultant was fixing it, he found uploaded mobile-phone photos of girls doing things – none of which would grace a family newspaper.
Now the only vehicle that matters is the smartphone.
This is where boys meet girls, girls compete for their attention, and they all try to manage the boiling riot of their own pubescent hormones.
Sarah had noticed that Josh had seemed less engaged with family life recently, he’d become surly and was falling behind in his schoolwork, but she had put this down to the dark tunnel of adolescence.
Receiving these positive visual and auditory signals makes us connected, compassionate and cooperative.
Our brain’s ‘social-engagement system’ is triggered. This gives a softness and warmth to our eyes and cheeks, making us expressive.
This sends a message to our brain that we are safe in this social space.
Hearing the other person’s voice has a similar calming effect on the brain, when nerves in the inner ear are triggered by particular frequencies (notably the frequency most similar to a mother’s voice, which is usually the first safe relationship we encounter).