Sexting Study Reveals All
Eeew! Think of how many creepy people could be looking at that photo when you dump your loser boyfriend and he posts it on a chatroom for revenge?
A new study from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com finds that more than 22% of girls ages 13-19 say they have electronically sent, or posted online, nude or semi-nude images of themselves. And, the study finds, these racy images are also getting passed around: One-third of teen boys and one-quarter of teen girls say they have had nude/semi-nude images -- originally meant to be private -- shared with them. Read the full study here [PDF]
It's called sexting. Is it just foolish, or really dangerous? The debate has been raging for a few years, but let me clear it up for you right now: It's both foolish and dangerous. Sexting has been linked to teen suicide and a whole host of other bad stuff. It's also a crime.
"Ignore This and You Might Ruin Your Kid's Life - Sexting is a Potential Sex Crime" reads the headline on a tech blog yesterday. They are correct: Sending a sexually explicit photo of someone underage can be considered the transmission of child pornography, even if it's a 13-year-old girl sending a naked photo of herself to her 13-year-old boyfriend.
It's worth noting, of course, that the vast majority of teens and young-adults are not doing this. So don't go freaking out too much. Still, just to summarize:
- Sexting is foolish because it's classic hyperbolic discounting: Young-adults are valuing their futures a lot less than they are valuing the titillation of their present crush.
- Sexting is dangerous because it could get you caught up in a legal mess -- and eeew! -- think of how many creepy people could be looking at that photo when you dump your loser boyfriend and he posts it on a chatroom for revenge?