I was invited to be part of today’s Channel 7’s Daily Edition program to discuss some new findings from a recent Australian study of 1,200 teens and their experiences with sexting, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Mail UK. The term sexting refers to the practice of sending sexual photos to another person via the internet or via messaging.
One of the surprising findings from this survey, is that according to girls that do participate in sexting, they are actually not being pressured overtly by boys to send sexual images, but are willingly sexting to flirt and to have fun. Boys and girls are sending just as many sexts but boys are sharing theirs with more people.
Boys also report that they are more often sending sexts in response to an image sent first to them by a girl. So it seems that girls are more likely to send the sexual images initially. (Which is what I meant in the interview but didn’t quite get my point out right…duh) Most teens surveyed assumed that girls were most likely pressured into sending sexts. The survey shows that girls far from being passive participants or pressured, were more likely the instigators.
It seems clear from this survey that many Teens see sharing sexual images as a sort of flirtatious sexual play. They are engaging in a sort of courtship and foreplay. The risks are obvious, there is absolutely no guarantee that the image they send will not be shared on, even though the survey points out that only 6% of teens admitted to sharing a sext on to another party. 20% of Teens however have shown a sext from a sender to friends on their device.
It may also be that the reciprocal exchanging of sexts can also be a sort of contract, to prevent the likelihood of an explicit picture being passed on.
The video below outlines my suggestions to parents on what they can do to try and help their Teens and Tweens understand the risks of partaking in this behaviour.