Sexting. We’ve all heard of it, some of us will admit to dabbling in it, but as a new study shows, it’s no longer a hobby reserved for high profile, cheating celebrities (no no, we’re not pointing any fingers here *cough* Ashley Cole *cough cough*); it’s now part and parcel with our contemporary experience, and even part of growing up.
Yep, bit worrying when you think of your offspring. Back in the day, my parents only had to worry about what I was wearing as I left the house for a disco, oblivious to the fact that I had another outfit squashed into my bag – ‘Oh, they’re just my PJs’ – that I’d change into the minute I was out of sight. Nowadays though, you’ve got next to no idea what’s popping up on your kids’ screens. So unless you’re going to deny them of their phones entirely, as they get a bit older, this will likely be par for the course.
As part of the study, a diverse group of almost 1,000 adolescents in Texas answered anonymous surveys detailing their sexting habits, whether they send sexual imagery to each other, their sexual activity (in real life, not digitally) and other behaviours. It found that one in four teens had sexted, and that sexting was related to future sexual behavior.
As the Washington Post suggest, however, this is just really a new form of ‘first base’, which in our language, we’d call kissing, or scoring, or shifting, or whatever new fangled words they’re using today. It’s just the technology that’s changed things. “Sexting preceeded sexual behavior in many cases,” says Jeff Temple, professor, psychologist and author of the study. “The theory behind that is sexting may act as a gateway or prelude to sexual behaviors or increases the acceptance of going to the next level.” “This behavior isn’t always new, it’s just a new medium… But it’s not safe because it can be shared.”
And that’s something that people of all ages should keep in mind. All you have to do is look to those celebrity leaks to see how devastating it can be if your photos or ‘sexts’ land in the wrong person’s hands.
Do you think sexting is a bad, risky idea? Do you trust that your information won’t be picked up in the cloud somewhere? Do you trust the person with whom you are sexting? Or do you worry about how technology will propel your kids towards sexual activity at a younger age?
Share your thoughts below
Caroline Foran @CarolineForan
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