A report went out yesterday, concluding that teen sexting is not as prevalent as you may have thought. In fact, the number of youth who have shared or taken images of themselves naked is around 1%.
The definition of this gets thrown around in many different shades from what we've read, so to make it clear what it's meant in this form, we turn to Wikipedia.
Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between mobile phones. The term was first popularized in early 21st century, and is a portmanteau of sex and texting.
The study was released by The University of New Hampshire's Crimes Against Children Research Centre, to coincide with one released a few months ago: the first called "Prevalence and Characteristics of Youth Sexting: A National Study," and the second titled “How Often Are Teens Arrested for Sexting? Data From a National Sample of Police Cases.” The first was conducted to 1,560 Internet users between 10 and 17, questioning them about their experiences with sexting. This found that 2.5% of the demographic have actually participated in this - with only 1% actually taking naked photos of themselves, or as they call it "violate child pornography laws."
“Lots of people may be hearing about these cases discovered by schools and parents because they create a furor, but it still involves a very small minority of youth,” said lead author Kimberly Mitchell, research assistant professor of psychology at the UNH Crimes Against Children Research Center.
The second study took a look at 675 sexting cases that were investigated by the police, measuring percentages of those that led to arrests and what the ages of the people were involved. No minors were arrested; but in the 36% of general cases where arrests occurred, they were combined with various other grimes (blackmail, harassment, etc).
“In both studies, researchers found that sexual images of youth were not as widely distributed online as many parents, youth and law enforcement fear. In the teen survey, 90% of youth said the images they created did not go beyond the intended recipient. Even in the cases where the images came to the attention of the police, two-thirds of the images stayed on cell phones and never circulated online.” The researchers commented.
So people maybe more trustworthy than you think...either that or people aren't being downright idiots anymore, messaging naked pictures of themselves.