Opinions on the prevalence of sexting seem to be all over the map. However, one thing that everyone seems to agree on is that it is becoming increasingly frequent, particularly among teens. Defining sexting as “sharing sexually explicit images, videos or messages through electronic means,” a team of child development specialists examined the data from 122 studies and determined that 39 of them were credible. From there they drew some remarkable conclusions.
By the numbers: nine issues regarding teen texting
Adapted from a story in the Los Angeles Times, here are nine facts:
- 15 percent of teens have sexted: This is the number who have admitting to doing this, or boasted about it, and it actually seems low.
- 27 percent of teens have received sexts: There is a disparity because one person can send sexts to multiple people at the same time or over a period.
- There is an upsurge: Despite the rise of the #MeToo movement, sexting has become increasingly common.
- 12 percent of teens have forwarded sexts: This illustrates the risk in engaging in this kind of behavior.
- 8 percent of teens have had their sexts forwarded: See 4.
- Sexting comes from both genders: While the media stereotype is girls sending sexts to boys who request them, this is not the case. Girls may also request them, or either gender sends them unsolicited.
- Sexting is more common in older teens: Experts believe this is an outgrowth of teens actively exploring their sexuality.
- They use smartphones: Newsflash right? This is also further enabled by the use of privacy settings that make it easier to share or erase the sexts.
- Sexting is skewing younger: As it becomes more common for older kids to engage in this behavior, younger kids are adopting it.
This is risky behavior
Sending sexts could spell be a serious trouble if the sext is unsolicited and unwelcome, or the sender is making a regular habit of doing it. It is flat out illegal for minors under 18 to sext. It is also illegal to possess images of someone younger than 16. The law takes dating and difference in age into account, but acts involved in bullying or harassment will be taken extremely seriously.
Charges can be Class C or Class D felonies and include up to eight years in prison and/or $10,000 fine. If you or a loved one is charged with disseminating inappropriate photos, it is crucial to consult with a criminal defense attorney to fight these charges to avoid penalties, fines and a mark on your permanent record.