Teens Text, Rarely SextDecember 6, 2011 No Comments
Does “teen” plus “texting” always equal “sexting?”
Although some parents may think it’s fairly harmless, especially if it means their teen is not actually performing a pas de deux, we must be fully aware of what sexting implies. How much sex is in sexting?
We should also reflect on the danger of minors taking and sending sexually explicit photos of themselves. Even if they’re just for fun, these images can wind up on the Internet for all to see. Just one click, and bam, you’ve got yourself a case of child pornography. Cliché or not, with great power of communication, comes great responsibility.
But teens are not sexting as much as we thought, according to a recent study. Parents may be able to put their nagging worries aside…if only for a moment.
When researchers asked 1,560 kids (aged 10 to 17) detailed questions about the nature of their texts, they found that only 10 percent of teens had sent or posted “sexually suggestive” photos. What’s more reassuring is that “the rate dropped when sexting was defined as sending or receiving images showing sexual activity or naked breasts, genitals, or backsides.”
So parents can breathe a sigh of relief, right? This study shows that sexting may not be as serious (or as explicit) as we previously imagined. In fact, teens may consider it a form of flirting. For better or for worse, cell phones are the modern-day conduits of self-expression.
Still, we must take this study with the usual grain of salt. Knowing it’s inappropriate, kids may deny sexting or censor their involvement in front of adults. What was once a naked photo may become a girl in a cute, frilly negligee.
We shouldn’t be consumed thinking that all kids are sex-crazed maniacs who want cell phones so they can live out their saucy fantasies, but we should also realize that, whether it’s one percent or 90 percent, it is indeed happening. Sexting can have serious consequences for everyone, but especially vulnerable youth.
Now may be a good time to put your phone down and have “the talk” with your kids.
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