Though the lurid nature and protective nature of adults has made it a national story, a pair of recent studies found that illegal actions involving ‘sexting’ (sending illicit photos or videos of oneself via the internet or smart phones, often to classmates) is not particularly widespread.
The studies, published by the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes against Children Research Center, both found relatively low numbers of these incidents.
One – based on an anonymous survey of more than 1,500 internet users between ages 10-17 found that only one in 100 respondents reported appearing in or creating sexually explicit images and only one in 40 reported creating nude or nearly nude images.
The second study was based on an analysis of cases from law enforcement agencies and found that 3,477 such incidents occured in 2008-2009, only slightly more examples than there were of youth homicides.
Obviously more research needs to be done before a definitive consensus on the topic can be reached, but it appears that, for now, the media coverage of this recent phenomenon has been of wider scope than the activity itself.
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