Several national studies have been conducted over the past few years examining the new trend of teen “sexting”, i.e. when teens take and send nude or partially nude images and videos of themselves with their computer or cell phone’s built in camera device.

  • The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy identified that 19% of teens (aged 13 to 19) had sent a sexually‐suggestive picture or video of themselves to someone via email, cell phone, or through another form of online interaction, while 31% had received a nude or semi‐nude picture from someone else.
  • MTV and the Associated Press explored the issue of sexting in September of 2009 and found that 10% of those between the ages of 14 and 24 had sent a naked picture of themselves to others, and 15% had received naked pictures or video from someone directly.
  • And, just earlier this month, Michelle Ybarra, president and research director of Internet Solutions for Kids reported that only 5% of kids had sexted in the past year, but that those that do view sexting as another way of expressing sexuality.

One report that came out this summer, however, really caught my attention.  Researchers at the University of Rhode Island found that 78% of college students say they have received sexually explicit texts, 67% have sent them, 56% have received them as images and 17% were compelled to forward received sexts onto other interested parties.  Although the study only included a couple hundred college kids, the results seemed to best synch with what I hear and know from working with the younger generation.  Additionally, I wonder what this small survey indicates about what today’s high schoolers will do when they are in college.

What to you think?