The research shows that the sexting phenomenon is not something we can just ignore.
Some estimates of teen and young adult sexting rates run from as low as 4% to as high as 20%. Comparing the studies, it is safe to say 7-9% of older teens (14-17 years old) send sexts, while older age groups tend to be involved in sexting at higher percentages, perhaps 20% or even more.
One survey released in 2016 found that 66% of teens and young adults have received a sexually explicit image, and 41% have sent one.
One study’s statistics show that 1 in 5 teens admit to sexting.
When 535 students from 18 schools in South West UK responded to a survey, 39% said at least one of their friends has “shared intimate pictures/videos” with a boyfriend or girlfriend. When the same students were asked how many incidents of sexting in the past year they were aware of, 50% said “one or two” incidents, 19% said “a few,” and 24% said it happens regularly or all the time (SW Grid for Learning).
Sexting makes you vulnerable to social problems, problems with school or work, and even extortion or blackmail.
Most sexting images are shared, and any image shared online or through text can be tracked down.
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) estimates that 88% of self-made sexually explicit images are “stolen” from their original upload location such as laptop webcams or phones.
Even if someone takes a picture without their face in it, they are still vulnerable, because every picture from a cell phone has metadata that can be traced.
Sexting doesn’t only make you vulnerable to later exploitation. The culture around sexting can actually groom both the requester and the sender in the dynamic of sexual exploitation—where the requester pressures, manipulates, and coerces in order to get the desired image.
61% of all sexters who have sent nude images admit that they were pressured to do it at least once.
CALL TO ACTION:
Anti-cyberbullying resources for you or your child:
NCOSE Resource Center:
Further talking points: