Teenagers are 'sexting' nude pictures of themselves far more than previously thought.A study in American schools found that close to a third of teenagers had sent a nude picture of themselves, and 57% had been asked to.
According to the Daily Mail report, teenagers who engaged in 'sexting' were also more likely to have sex.Researchers claim that 'sexting' via email or text has become a modern version of 'You show me mine, I'll show me yours.'
The alarming figures are in contrast to previous studies which have estimated that a mere 1% of teenagers had sent naked pictures.But the new study is much larger, and, researchers suspect, more accurate.
Researchers surveying nearly 1,000 students at seven schools in southeast Texas found that 28 percent of adolescents have sent a nude pictures of themselves through electronic means; more than half (57 percent) have been asked to send a nude picture; and about one-third (31 percent) have asked for a nude picture to be sent to them.
These rates are substantially higher than recently published peer-reviewed data suggesting that only a little more than one percent of teens had sent naked pictures.
‘It appears that sexting is a modern version of 'show me yours and I'll show you mine,' but the commonness of the behavior does not condone its occurrence. On the contrary, we found that teens are generally bothered by being asked to send a naked picture,’ said lead author Jeff Temple, UTMB assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
‘In fact, nearly all girls were bothered by having been asked, and among boys, more than half were bothered at least a little.’
The researchers also examined the association between sexting and sexual activities and found that male and females who engaged in a variety of sexting behaviors were overwhelmingly more likely to have had sex than their peers who have not experienced sexting.
Moreover, teen girls — but not boys — who engaged in sexting had a higher prevalence of risky sexual behaviors, including multiple partners and using drugs or alcohol before sex.
Temple believes this gender difference may be attributed at least in part to social beliefs about sexting, particularly that it may be perceived permissively and positively for boys and thus, not considered risky or to be associated with other dangerous behaviors.
Girls, on the other hand, may be perceived as promiscuous if they sext. If willing to risk reputation, they may be inclined to take other risks as well.
‘Pediatricians, policy makers, schools and parents have been handicapped by insufficient information about the nature and importance of teen sexting,’ said Temple. ‘These findings shed new light on the public health importance of this increasingly common behavior and we hope that the data contributes to improved adolescent health care.’