A recent government study from Australia confirms again what many experts and parents already fear: more and more teens are using sexting to send explicit, sexual photos of themselves to friends or strangers via their cell phones. Many teens, says the study, are succumbing to peer pressure to get involved in the dangerous activity.
Researchers at Melbourne University say pressure to send and receive sexual images is impacting both males and females.
For boys, there’s pressure to participate in sexting in order to hold on to a sense of masculinity. For girls, the pressure may center on capturing affection and attention from boys. Teen girls may also be more inclined to participate in sexting when they view sexted images that involve personal friends, according to a recent article.
Several teens were interviewed for the study, and many had an experience to address about sexting. Some photos they had sent or received involved their participation in sexual behaviors; others centered on nudity.
Researchers hope the study, and others, will help generate more efforts that help teens learn strategies for overcoming the pressure to get involved in sexting. They also said that the ways actors and musicians are portrayed in videos and other media forms are a contributing factor toward the pressure teens experience toward sexting.
Additional materials, like sexting-friendly apps for teen smartphones, are projecting sexting as harmless or benign, say researchers. In reality, the behavior can lead to sexual contact with strangers, bullying, depression, anxiety and unsafe sexual behaviors.
They also said a more conversational approach used in other countries regarding teens and sex may be a link toward delaying teens from sexual experiences and disease contraction.