Fast Facts About Sexting
Fact 1: Sexting occurs among all age groups.
Studies have found that approximately half of all people use their phones to send or receive sexual content. Men are more likely to sext than women, but the gap is closing. Among older teenagers and young adults, approximately 70 percent report receiving or sending sexual content. Among younger teens, approximately 15 percent say they have sent sext messages and approximately 25 percent say they have received them. A lower percentage of teenagers, 3-7 percent, report sending nude photos of themselves or others.
Fact 2: Sext messages get shared.
Nearly 20 percent of people who receive sext messages report sharing them with others.
Fact 3: Sexting is illegal in some jurisdictions.
Sending someone a sexually suggestive or nude photo of a person under age 18, whether the photo is of another person or is a selfie, usually is considered sharing child pornography, and can result in the sender and sometimes the receiver being prosecuted for a crime. Several jurisdictions also have laws against sending or threatening to send nude photos of someone to embarrass or intimidate them.
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The following citations reflect research, publications, and presentations by current ATSA members.
- Sexting behaviors among college students: Cause for concern?: Perkins, Becker, Tehee, & Mackelprang (2014)
- Building a prevention framework to address teen sexting behaviors: Harris, Davidson, Letourneau, Paternite, & Miofsky (2013)