Sexting is all the rage with teenagers these days, largely due to advances in technology. If you think back to when you were a teen, you didn’t have access to a smartphone with a camera, social media or other such apps. The best we had was instant messaging, which provided anonymity, so we could pretend to be anyone we wanted and no one would know the difference.
However, with text and picture messaging, teens today no longer have this sense of anonymity, so they are encouraged by their peers to take bigger risks and put it “all” out there. Unfortunately, most teens do not think beyond the instant gratification they receive or experience when they send a sext message to another.
They don’t realize the person they send the message and images to may not even want to see that sort of thing. In addition, soliciting partially naked and nude images from another individual, whether male or female, is considered sexual harassment. You wouldn’t walk up to your co-worker and ask them to text you a picture of them half naked and not expect there to be consequences.
The biggest mistake parents can make is thinking their teen would never send or receive a sext message. Think again because the number of teenagers sexting has grown significantly over the past decade. Back in 2008 a tech survey was conducted by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and Cosmo Girl Magazine to determine the prevalence of sexting in 13 to 26 year olds.1
The results of the survey were rather surprising. At that time, 20% of teens said they had sent or posted partially naked or fully naked videos and pictures of themselves. Furthermore, 39% of all teens said they had sent sexually suggestive messages using text or emoji’s.
You might also be surprised to learn 22% of teenaged girls had posted or sent semi-naked or fully naked pictures, compared to only 18% of teenaged boys. While 40% of teen boys sent sexually explicit text/emoji messages, compared to 37% of teen girls.
Yet remember this survey was conducted back in 2008 when smartphone technologies were just starting. A more recent Kinsey study survey that was conducted globally in 2017 found that the number of people sexting had grown significantly.2 This survey discover that 67% of all respondents are sexting. Keep in mind this study focuses on teens and adults, but does shed light that the number of teens sexting has also increased since 2008.
The drastic increase shows that teens and young adults today have grown accustomed to using technology as part of our daily lives. Many believe that sexting is just an extension of dating rituals to let someone else know they like them, as well as a way to liven up their existing relationships.
However, sexting can have serious consequences for both teens and adults, which we will discuss further in our next month’s blog article. If you are having problems talking about sexting with your teenager or other parenting concerns, please feel free to contact Bayridge Counselling Centres at 905-319-1488 today!