Why teens participate in ‘sexting’

Why teens participate in ‘sexting’

Peer pressure and popularity in school are nothing new, but the way cell phones are being used to generate so-called social currency in teens is raising new concerns. A new study finds that it is increasingly common for adolescents to use mobile porn and participate in “sexting” or sending sexual images and/or messages via their mobile phones, as a way to increase their social status.

The study, published in late February in the journal Media Psychology, examined the link between teens’ level of popularity and their use of mobile phones for sexting and downloading, as well as producing and sending sexual or pornographic images.

Researchers found that despite the risks, teens were still willing to engage in the behavior with their peers. The study also revealed that there is pressure to participate in sexting and mobile porn use to gain peer acceptance, which suggests that these behaviors help teens show or achieve status in a given social circle.

Study results came from a large-scale survey of teens between the ages of 11 and 20 years old. The study explored four main aspects of peer group dynamics associated with sexting and mobile porn use. The categories included same-sex popularity, other-sex popularity, perceived peer pressure and the need for popularity.

“I think it is important to remember that research suggests that only 20 to at the most 30 percent of teens have engaged in sexting, while the percent approached/encouraged to sext is much higher. Therefore, the majority of teens are exercising good judgment in not sexting ,” says Dr. Bobbi Viegas-Miller, a licensed clinical psychologist with Advocate Medical Group in Park Ridge, Ill.

“As parents and as a community, we need to continue to educate teens about the potential negative consequences of sharing intimate pictures of themselves with others, help tweens and teens with impulse control and emotion regulation, consider taking away or limiting access to technology at parties or slumber parties where tweens/teens may experience more peer pressure to sext, and educate parents on how to monitor and talk to their kids about technology,” she adds.

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Comments

4 Comments

  1. As young as 11 years? Yikes. Thanks for the article. I’m going to forward this on to my family!

  2. I find this very sad — and scary.

  3. Agreed, Eric. It’s very disturbing. But I think if we educate our children and help them navigate all of this technological stimuli, perhaps we can help them avoid the traps.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.