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1 in 10 youth involved in some form of ‘sexting’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) — About 10 percent of youth ages 10-17 have participated in sending or receiving a sexually explicit or sexually suggestive picture of themselves or others electronically, according to a new survey that is the most detailed yet in examining the “sexting” habits of youth.

The Youth Internet Safety Survey, published online Dec. 5 on the website of the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, shows that only 1 percent of all youth have appeared in, created or received a picture that involved nudity — of themselves of someone they know — via text message or the Internet. But if the category involves sexually suggestive semi-nude pictures, that percentage jumps to 9.6 percent.

The cell phone and landline survey of 1,560 youth, conducted between August 2010 and January 2011, helps shine the light of the extent of sexting. Most surveys about sexting have not defined the term, leaving it unclear if the images were or were not nude.

“In the face of some widely cited, but flawed, studies claiming to show as many as 1 in 5 youth ‘involved in sexting’ these results are to some extent reassuring,” the survey authors wrote. “… Sexting of explicit images involves a low percentage but still a considerable number of youth.”

The authors acknowledge that the poll, like all surveys that rely on self-reporting, may have missed youth who chose not to disclose their sexting involvement.
Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press. The study is available online at http://bit.ly/sQqUrr.

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