New research lifts the lid on 'sexting' attitudes and practices amongst teenagers

December 12, 2012, University of Plymouth

A new study conducted by Plymouth University and UK Safer Internet Centre supported by the NSPCC, reveals new concerns and trends in 'sexting' amongst teenagers.

The qualitative study engaged with 120 13-14 year olds and 30 10-11 year olds and concluded that:

  • is considered almost routine for many 13-14 year olds.
  • are unwilling to turn to for help due to fear of being judged.
  • Young people think that issues around sexualised online content (both pornography and self-generated content) should be discussed in school.
  • Younger children (10-11 years olds) are still largely safe from exposure to sexualised content.
The author of the study, Plymouth University Business School's Professor of in IT, Andy Phippen, said: "We have worked with eight schools across the South West to better understand the issues and influences around sexting and have spoken to 150 young people in detail. What is clear from this work is the sexting is almost routine in the lives of many 14 year olds and it is something they address with their friends. They are highly unlikely to turn to an adult for fear of being judged. However, what is also clear is that they are willing to talk about these issues if done in a supportive and sensitive manner and it is something all the young people we spoke to felt should be addressed in school."

David Wright, Director of UK Safer Internet Centre (SWGfL), said: "Technology and the internet offer amazing opportunities but in some aspects have contrasting issues and threats; issues that can have devastating , especially for our children and young people.

"Whilst illustrating the latest amongst children, the study also has some clear messages for schools; that children want the opportunity to discuss these subjects but at the same time wouldn't report an issue to their teacher. Clearly there is much work to do, although the UK Safer Internet Centres new sexting resources (October 2012) for schools and children can help inform and support in such situations."

Jon Brown, sexual abuse lead at the NSPCC, said: "We are starting to see the regular and normalised consumption of hardcore among young people and this has led to the sharing of explicit self-generated sexual imagery.
"Good quality sex education is absolutely critical. It needs to be age-appropriate, but if we are to be able to help young people navigate their way through these pressures, it also needs to start in primary school. We need to teach young people about respecting themselves and respecting each other.

"Parents should not be afraid of talking to young people about this issue. And young people who feel they can't approach a trusted adult can call ChildLine for advice and support."

Explore further: 'Sexting' may be just a normal part of dating for Internet generation

Related Stories

'Sexting' may be just a normal part of dating for Internet generation

July 24, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- For young adults today who were weaned on iPods and the Internet, the practice of "sexting," or sending sexually explicit photos or messages through phones, may be just another normal, healthy component ...

Sending sexually explicit photos by cell phone -- more common among teens than you might think

June 13, 2012
A significant number of teenagers are sending and receiving sexually explicit cell phone photos, often with little, if any, awareness of the possible psychological, interpersonal, and sometimes legal consequences of doing ...

Recommended for you

Eating iron-fortified grain improves students' attention, memory

July 18, 2018
Adolescent students in a rural school in India who consumed an iron-biofortified version of the grain pearl millet exhibited improved attention and memory compared to those who consumed conventional pearl millet, according ...

Lowering hospitals' Medicare costs proves difficult

July 18, 2018
A payment system that provides financial incentives for hospitals that reduce health-care costs for Medicare patients did not lower costs as intended, according to a new study led by Washington University School of Medicine ...

Vaping tied to blood clots—in mice

July 18, 2018
A new study involving mice raises another concern about the danger of e-cigarettes in humans after experiments showed that short-term exposure to the device's vapors appeared to increase the risk of clot formation.

People who tan in gyms tan more often, and more addictively, than others, new research shows

July 18, 2018
Gyms are places people go to get healthier. But nearly half the gyms in the U.S. contain a potentially addictive carcinogen—tanning beds, report UConn researchers in the July 18 issue of JAMA Dermatology.

Omega 3 supplements have little or no heart or vascular health benefit: review

July 17, 2018
New evidence published today shows there is little or no effect of omega 3 supplements on our risk of experiencing heart disease, stroke or death.

Study shows that people most affected by alcohol also most impacted by sleep deprivation

July 17, 2018
A team of researchers from the German Aerospace Center and Forschungszentrum Jülich has found that people who are most susceptible to alcohol intoxication are also most susceptible to cognitive problems due to sleep deprivation. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.