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Study Exposes Teen Sexting Myth

Posted on Dec 5, 2011

Sexting may be more common among adults than teens, judging by the number of celebrities who have been caught with their camera phones up. The face behind that iPhone is alleged to be the Cleveland Indians’ Grady Sizemore.

What’s with those teenagers sending around photos of their privates? It turns out they’re just a fantasy. A new study asked kids whether they had created and sent sexually explicit images of themselves (rather than the vaguer “do you sext?”) and only 1 percent said “yes.”

That number more than doubles if you include photos that show mere (mere???) nudity.

About 7 percent of the young people interviewed told researchers that they had received images ranging from nearly nude to, well, we’d rather not imagine.

This research was conducted by the Crimes Against Children Research Center, which speaks to the concerns of parents, educators and lawmakers everywhere. Sexual texting, you see, is considered by many to be child pornography, even if it’s the product of teenagers being teenagers.

Luckily it turns out to be something very few teens engage in. Perhaps we titillated adults in the media and academic communities can move on to issues that are far more dangerous to children, such as obesity (more than one-third of teenagers in 2008 were overweight or obese).  —PZS


Just 1 percent of teens say they’ve created sexually explicit images and shared them, according to a new survey of 1,560 teenagers by the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. About 2.5 percent of teens said they’d appeared in or created nude or nearly nude photos or videos. That’s a far cry from the “22 percent of all teens are sexting” data that’s been tossed around in the past few years.

More teenagers are getting sexy images on their phones, but even then those numbers are modest, so to speak. About 7 percent said they had gotten a nude or nearly nude image, and 6 percent said they’d gotten a sexually explicit image, which included naked breasts, genitalia, or buttocks. In the majority of cases, the images were sent as “romance as part of a relationship.”

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, December 9, 2011 at 7:47 am Link to this comment


Yeah you motherfucker!!!

You are a pervert.

A fucking french pervert.

I deny you permission to kiss my ass you pervert.


Seriously though, it might not necessarily be such a big fucking deal, right Lafayette???

There is no excuse for french perversion!!!

You are the slimiest of the scum.

I am keeping my eye on you “frenchie”.

(I don’t know why you bothered to comment on this topic)


Fuck you Lafayette!!!

You are so creepy!!!

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adrienrain's avatar

By adrienrain, December 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

Our laws and customs are proof of our society’s
state of denial. Our age of consent is 18, but
you don’t have to be 18 to want sex. Rather
desperately in fact. In many cultures, that would
be OK. In others, it is very strictly forbidden, BUT
so is most sexual display. We have a weird
combination of constant sexual teasing through
our media (sex sells - but first it sells sex) and
the desire to keep young people at the height of
their hormonal drives, virginal. It’s not working.

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By karl1146, December 6, 2011 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment

This sort of survey question is unlikely to get honest answers - some kids may say yes just to get a reaction, and others will hide behavior they don’t want to get in trouble for.  The researchers are just guessing what those percentages are.

I think surveys about any behavior that’s socially disapproved/illegal isn’t likely to yield sound results.

But I don’t know how you could actually get to an honest number.

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, December 6, 2011 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

Re: Lafayette

You confuse two totally separate issues. The kids ARE
FINE. You cannot find fault with them if
educational goals are not met.

They are the students and are not in charge of any of
that, in any way. The issue here was a societal or
cultural one, not an educational one.

Education is important and our public schools are
being undermined. One of the ways this is obtained is
to put these culture war issues in the classroom and
then in turn to emphasize their importance to the
point that suddenly the concern is whether Joey
kissed Janie - who cares.

The fundamental FOCUS should be upon education, but I
heard daily about the garbage that passed as “keeping
our kids safe” and “holding to a moral
standard”....etc. It’s bogus. The problem is not with
the kids, the problem is with those in charge and the
politics associated with education that curtail
learning and emphasize compliance.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, December 6, 2011 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

Other than that, yep….the kids are fine.

Ok, I see you have rose-couloured glasses on ... so I wont bother you with the OECD scores on it’s 26-country Program for International Student Assessment.

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, December 6, 2011 at 4:01 am Link to this comment

Re: Lafayette

Your comment: “TV can be dangerous to your mental
health. There should be that banner at the top of the
screen. (Lotta good it would do ... ;^)”

lol…. I watch TV all the time (admittedly at least
half the time on “mute”) still, you need to see what
others see. That way you can relate.

As far as teenagers go, things have not changed. They
are no more nor less deranged than the rest of us. I
drove school bus for quite a few years, and certainly
we had our “differences of opinion” but all in all,
the kids are fine. Nothing to see here, of course
except the usual stuff….. but who’s counting?

The bogus “Moral Majority”.....ahem…. needs to
addressed for the scammers they are. Other than that,
yep….the kids are fine.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, December 6, 2011 at 2:47 am Link to this comment


Why didn’t the study ask teenagers if they had seen at least one porno-movie? Maybe we’d have yet another group of “99-percenters”?

It would be interesting to see from where teenagers are getting their visual input, that is, aside from the eponymous Facebook.

Why the penchant for violent films? (If the watching public did not like exploding cars and bodies, Hollywood would not be making them). Is violence an inculcated part of our culture?

I can understand why some parents control assiduously what their children watch on the Boob-Tube. A shame there is no such protection for adults ...

TV can be dangerous to your mental health. There should be that banner at the top of the screen. (Lotta good it would do ... ;^)

* From once upon a time when “boob” meant a stupid person. What can you do ... nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

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By bbh3d, December 5, 2011 at 9:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

1% said yes because the rest were smarter than to admit it.

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adrienrain's avatar

By adrienrain, December 5, 2011 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment

What percentage of politicians sext? Really, one
expects immature behavior from teens, but grown

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