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Sending sexually explicit photos by cell phone -- more common among teens than you might think
Date:6/13/2012

A significant number of teenagers are sending and receiving sexually explicit cell phone photos, often with little, if any, awareness of the possible psychological, interpersonal, and sometimes legal consequences of doing so. Even many of those who believe there could be serious legal consequences are undeterred and still choose to engage in 'sexting'. These findings by Donald Strassberg, from the University of Utah (US), and colleagues are published online in Springer's journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

New communication technologies play an increasingly important role in the lives of young people, especially adolescents. Instant access to others via online social networks has dramatically changed when, how, and what teens learn about each other and the world. In addition, sexting - the transfer of sexually explicit pictures via cell phones - is a new way in which adolescents are exposed to sexual material. In many US states, those sending or receiving nude pictures of individuals under 18 risk charges as serious as possession or distribution of child pornography, carrying penalties that include being listed on a sex offender register. In addition, for those featured in the photos, there may be serious psychological consequences.

Strassberg and team looked at how prevalent sexting is among adolescents and how aware, or not, teens are of the potential consequences. They recruited 606 students from a private high school in the southwest US, who completed a questionnaire about their experiences of sexting and their understanding of what consequences they believed were associated with being caught sexting. The students were also asked about their feelings on sending sexually explicit cell phone pictures, for example, in what context it might be right or wrong.

Nearly 20 percent of the students, some as young as 14, said they had sent a sexually explicit image of themselves via cell phone, and nearly twice as many said that they
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Contact: Joan Robinson
joan.robinson@springer.com
49-622-148-78130
Springer
Source:Eurekalert

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