It’s a trend that’s very popular among teenagers, not many of who are aware that they can face charges of child pornography when they share nude or sexually explicit images of themselves or others on their smartphones and other mobile devices.
As many as one in five teenagers admits to sexting, and according to a new study, sexting is very strongly linked to peer pressure. The fact is that this practice has not received much attention, and there are few studies that have extensively explored sexting as a phenomenon among teenagers. Researchers say that they were interested in studying teen behaviors related to sexting practices, because they realized that many teenagers were aware that it is wrong to send nude images on their smartphones to others, but continued to engage in such practices anywhere. They looked at peer group dynamics to find answers.
The researchers found in the course of their study that teenagers find themselves under strong pressure to engage in sexting and exchanging pornographic images on their mobile devices. Most often, they do this so that they can gain acceptance into chosen peer circles or their social circle. Parents of teenagers will be alarmed to find that teenagers are very often goaded into such practices, purely as a means of gaining status in their social circle.
The kind of status that a person gets after sexting seems to differ based on gender. Male teenagers for instance, seem to find sexting associated with much higher popularity among both boys and girls, while females seem to be much more likely to have their popularity among male teenagers surge after sharing nude pictures on smart phones, while their popularity with females dipped as a result.
Parents need to have this important conversation with their teens. Sharing such images not just jeopardizes a teen’s reputation, school life, and life in the community, but could also expose him or her to sex crime charges.