A recently released survey from Cox Communications in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and John Walsh found that 1 in 5 teens (19%) have been involved in "sexting" — sending, receiving or forwarding sexually suggestive text messages. These findings are consistent with a previous survey released in 2008.

This new survey included helpful information, breaking down the 19% cumulative figure into percentages of teens involved in specific behaviors:

Teens that have sent sexts: 9%
Teens that have received sexts: 17%
Teens that have forwarded sexts to others: 3%

Largely, those teens who sent sexts said the messages were sent to a boyfriend/girlfriend (60%).

Perhaps most disturbing was the number of teens (11%) who sent sexts to someone they did not know.

About 80% of teens who sext are under the age of 18, with the highest age group of sexters (24%) was 17-year-olds.

Of teens surveyed, 74% believe that sexting is wrong.

Of teen sexters, senders are more likely to be girls (65%).

Teens who sext spend more time online per week (31.7 hours) compared to the overall average of teens surveyed (26.8 hours).

Source: Cox Communications

http://www.cox.com/takecharge/safe_teens_2009/media/2009_teen_survey_internet_and_wireless_safety.pdf

For more information on sexting, read my article, "Sexting: A Parent’s Guide to Keeping Your Kids Safe".