Turns out the number of teens who “sext” is way lower than what the media has led us to believe, a new study found. Plus, the research shows that most of the racy images that are being sent and received by adolescents are fairly mild.
One in 10 children ages 10 to 17 has used a cellphone to send or receive sexually suggestive images, but only 1 in 100 has sent images considered graphic enough to violate child pornography laws, a new study found.
The study, conducted via telephone, surveyed 1,560 U.S. teens. and has turned earlier, more alarming research on its head.
An earlier, often-cited study had estimated that as many as one in five teenagers engaged in sexting, but it included 18- and 19-year-olds, most likely increasing the overall prevalence….
Despite sexting’s reputation as a teenage pastime, surveys now suggest that it is actually more common among young adults than children.
Most of the teens who had sexted said they had done it as part of a romantic relationship or to flirt. A third of the sexts had been sent when drugs or alcohol was involved, linking risky behaviors like substance abuse to risky behaviors like sexting.
Salon writer Tracy Clark-Flory cautioned against putting teens in any broad category:
“More than anything, the coverage of this latest finding should highlight our cultural inability to look at teen sexuality with any nuance. The narrative tendency is to swing between the extreme poles of corruption and innocence. They are either hormonal, sex-crazed maniacs or innocents in need of protection…. The truth is that when it comes to sex, teenagers are not either-or but both — as are we all.”
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