Sexting: Some Facts for Parents about Teen Sex and Tech

Sexting, the act of sending suggestive electronic text and/or picture messages, is something parents must be aware of—and talk to their kids about. If your child has a cell phone and is 10 or above, you need to have this conversation with them. Check out the facts below—and the related links for facts and tips on talking:

How many young adults are sending or posting nude or semi-nude images of themselves?

33% of young adults overall

36% of young adult women

31% of young adult men

How many teens say they have sent/posted nude or semi-nude pictures or video of themselves?

20% of teens overall

22% of teen girls

18% of teen boys

11% of young teen girls (ages 13-16)

Sexually suggestive messages (text, email, IM) are even more prevalent than sexually suggestive images. How many teens are sending or posting sexually suggestive messages?

39% of all teens

37% of teen girls

40% of teen boys

48% of teens say they have received such messages

How common is it to share sexy messages and images with those other than the intended recipient?

-44% of both teen girls and teen boys say it is common for sexually suggestive text messages to get shared with people other than the intended recipient.

-36% of teen girls and 39% of teen boys say it is common for nude or semi-nude photos to get shared with people other than the intended recipient.

-44% of young adult women and 50% of young adult men say it is common for sexually suggestive text messages to get shared with people other than the intended recipient.

-48% of young adult women and 46% of young adult men say it is common for nude or semi-nude photos to get shared with people other than the intended recipient.

Does sending sexually suggestive text and images affect what happens in real life?

-22% of teens and 28% of young adults say they are personally more forward and aggressive using sexually suggestive words and images than they are in real life.

-38% of teens and 40% of young adults say exchanging sexually suggestive content makes dating or hooking up with others more likely.

-29% of teens and 24% of young adults believe those exchanging sexually suggestive content are expected to date or hook up.

Why do teens and young adults send or post sexually suggestive content?

-51% of teen girls say pressure from a guy is a reason girls send sexy messages or images

-18% of teen boys cited pressure from female counterparts as a reason.

-23% of teen girls and 24% of teen boys say they were pressured by friends to send or post sexual content.

Among teens who have sent sexually suggestive content:

-66% of teen girls and 60% of teen boys say they did so to be fun or flirtatious their most common reason for sending sexy content.

-52% of teen girls did so as a sexy present for their boyfriend.

-44% of both teen girls and teen boys say they sent sexually suggestive messages or images in response to such content they received.

-40% of teen girls said they sent sexually suggestive messages or images as a joke.

-34% of teen girls say they sent/posted sexually suggestive content to feel sexy.

-12% of teen girls felt pressured to send sexually suggestive messages or images. The potential short-term and long-term consequences of their actions.

Read the full research report Sex and Tech Survey.

Read more on my blog about sexting and related topics:

To Sext or not to Sext? A Closer Look at the New Sexting

The Sex Talk: 6 Things Parents Must Know

Teen Hook Up Culture: Teen Sex and Theme Parties

And please talk to your teens about their cell phone and internet use, the dangers of sexting,and the importance of their reputation.

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