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Jim Liebelt Christian Blog and Commentary

New Survey on Teens and Sexting from Pew Internet

  • Jim Liebelt
    Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
  • 2009 Dec 16
  • Comments

I find it entirely plausible that the number of teens that have actually sent nearly-nude, nude, or suggestive photos of themselves to others is much smaller than the percentage of teens that have received or forwarded such photos of others. Some previous surveys have lumped together both those who send and receive "sexts" in their figures, so it was good to see the differentiation in this report.

A new survey from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project found that 4% of cell-owning teens ages 12-17 say they have sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images or videos of themselves to someone else via text messaging, a practice also known as "sexting"; 15% say they have received such images of someone they know via text message.

Focus group findings show that sexting occurs most often in one of three scenarios:

1.    Exchanges of images solely between two romantic partners   
2.    Exchanges between partners that are then shared outside the relationship
3.    Exchanges between people who are not yet in a relationship, but where often one person hopes to be.

"Teens explained to us how sexually suggestive images have become a form of relationship currency," said Amanda Lenhart, Senior Research Specialist and author of the report. "These images are shared as a part of or instead of sexual activity, or as a way of starting or maintaining a relationship with a significant other. And they are also passed along to friends for their entertainment value, as a joke or for fun."

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project
http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2009/Teens-and-Sexting.aspx