Sexting Nowhere Near as Widespread as Reported

Your common sense tells you that not many kids would do this-post pictures of themselves in overtly sexy positions online. But that didn’t stop media from reporting it as the next big thing. Now we have data.
USA Today reports on a study in the Journal Pediatrics:

“Many of these are very benign pictures” — of kids who might strike a sexual pose, but who remain clothed, often wearing bathing suits or underwear, says lead author Kimberly Mitchell, a researcher at the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire-Durham.

Parents might worry about those photos, but should know that there’s no epidemic of teens “unwittingly producing child pornography,” co-author Janis Wolak says.

Researchers conducted phone interviews with 1,560 youths nationwide and asked about exchanges of “nude or nearly nude” images of minors in the past year. They found:

•1.8% created such images of themselves; just five kids (0.3%) said they appeared in someone else’s photos; and six (0.4%) said they photographed someone else.

•1.3% said they appeared in or created images that showed naked breasts, genitals or bottoms.

•7% said that they have received such images.

“If their findings are true and the extent of this is less than previous studies have shown, it’s a very good thing,” says Bill Albert, chief program officer at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.

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