Teen sexting was a prevalent issue for the greater part of 2011. The news was flooded with stories of teens who found themselves on the sex offender’s list for distributing child pornography, while law makers were grappled with decisions of how to handle the widespread issue. However, according to a study from Crimes Against Children Research Center (CACRC) at the University of New Hampshire, teens are not sending as many racy photos to each other as we may have thought.
The study surveyed 1,560 kids aged 10 to 17 across the U.S. over telephone conversations. According to the findings, sexting is not as popular, widespread, or even as much of a national issue as it seems.
“Two and one-half percent of youth had appeared in or created nude or nearly nude pictures or videos. However, this percentage is reduced to 1.0% when the definition is restricted to only include images that were sexually explicit (ie, showed naked breasts, genitals, or bottoms),” the study reads. “Of the youth who participated in the survey, 7.1% said they had received nude or nearly nude images of others; 5.9% of youth reported receiving sexually explicit images. Few youth distributed these images.”
CACRC’s 2.5% of youth who sent nude or partially nude images also include images of themselves in a “sexy pose,” but fully clothed.
The majority of sexters are older teens. 72% of the kids who sent nude or partially nude photos of themselves were 16 or 17-years-old. One third of the 16 and 17-year-olds admitted that they were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol when they sent the pictures.
“The most commonly reported reason for incidents was romance as part of an existing relationship; pranks and jokes or trying to start a relationship,” CACRC said.
The CACRC concludes that youth need to be educated about sexting, but that sending nude or semi-nude photographs of themselves is abnormal behaviour and not popular amongst the majority of American youth.
“The rate of youth exposure to sexting highlights a need to provide them with information about legal consequences of sexting and advice about what to do if they receive a sexting image,” the CACRC wrote. “However, the data suggests that appearing in, creating, or receiving sexual images is far from being a normative behavior for youth.”
Image source: KEZI news