Researchers at La Trobe university surveyed over 2,000 children between 16 and 18 years of age and found that the practice of sexting, or sending sexually explicit messages and photos, has become a common phenomenon among teens.
More than half of the students surveyed admitted to receiving a sexually explicit text message while over 26 percent said that they had sent a sexually explicit photo of themselves. The researchers also found a link between receiving and sending sexually explicit text and having sex with 84 percent of sexually active teens reporting that they had received a sexually explicit text while half of them had sent a nude or explicit photo or video of themselves.
"Given that it's against the law, I think we have thoroughly lost that battle for young people. It's just a part of a sexual relationship, part of courtship, now. Of course harm can come to young people if these texts are sent far and wide but we found very low rates of what we'd call cyber bullying. We're suggesting that for most young people this behavior is really unproblematic and just kept within their sexual relationship", lead researcher Professor Anne Mitchell said.