Shocking: Teens Talk Sex Online

from the well-what-do-you-know? dept

Forty percent of US teens have sent sexually suggestive electronic messages, a new study says, adding that one in five have sent "nude or partially clothed images of themselves" via email or mobile phone -- fulfilling Mike's earlier prediction, following an overblown report about kids getting naked on cameraphones, that we'd soon be warned about this widespread phenomenon. Let's ignore, for a moment, the fact that this was an online survey, so drawing conclusions about how all teens behave from it seems a little shaky -- but hey, it makes a good headline, right? We'll also suspend our disbelief that teens -- who are likely communicating in similar ways, about similar things, offline -- would do this sort of stuff.

As with so many of these reports about kids' online behavior, any sort of positive takeaway here gets buried. In this case, about 80 percent of those surveyed realize that sending these messages or photos online could cause regret later or embarrassment, and three-quarters of them say it can have serious consequences, illustrating that they have a decent understanding of the ramifications of their actions. Doesn't that paint a little more positive picture of teens, that they aren't just leaping blindly into some morass of sketchy behavior and putting themselves at risk? This parallels earlier reports that have found teens do a decent job of looking out for themselves online. It just makes you wonder if maybe giving teens a little more credit and going from there, rather than trying to paint pictures that scare parents and politicians into action, might be a more effective way to protect teens from all these supposed online problems.

Filed Under: kids, sex, studies

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  1. identicon
    toyotabedzrock, 15 Dec 2008 @ 11:18am

    I believe this study and i think that the number are a little low. With the internet teens are able to for the first time develop there own sense of morality based on a more worldly view, rather than the view of there parents and community. The only thing that worries me is not that they share said pictures but who they share them with, for instance a person online pretending to be there age.

    Also i think this study came about because of a 15yo who was arrested for having child pornography, of herself, on her cell phone. Follow the link for more info.

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