Sexting Not As Common Among Minors As People Thought
“Sexting,” sending sexually suggestive cellphone images or messages, is less common amongst U.S. minors than school officials, police and lawmakers feared, a study published Monday indicated.
Ten percent of children ages 10 to 17 say they've used a cellphone to send or receive sexually suggestive images, but only one percent has sent images considered graphic enough to violate child pornography laws, the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire study found.
Published in the journal Pediatrics, the results are based on phone interviews with 1,560 children across the country, the researchers said.
Out of the 1,560, 149 participants, or 9.6 percent, said they have sent or received images that included full or partial nudity in the previous year, the study found.
Slightly over 2 percent of those who engaged in “sexting” said they had appeared in the pictures or had taken them themselves, and 7.1 percent said they received sexual images from someone else.
An earlier Pew Research Center study estimated as many as one in five teenagers engaged in “sexting,” but it included 18- and 19-year-olds, which researchers said likely increased the overall prevalence, UPI.com reported.
The new study says the motivations for sending or forwarding sexual texts were generally not malicious.