A recent study in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality provides some insight into the issue of sexting - a combination of "sex" and "texting" that refers to the sending of sexually related text or images from one mobile phone to another.
While we assume that the sender wants the image to be private, statistics reveal that this is not always respected.
17% of those who had received a sext reported that they had sent it on to one or more other people (Associated Press / MTV 2009 survey)
25% of teen girls and 33% of teen boys reported that they had seen nude or semi-nude sexts that were intended for someone else (NCPTUP / Cosmogirl.com 2008 survey)
Before hitting "send", here are some things to consider:
- Most relationships don't last forever. In many cases where nude photos have been shared with others, it was an ex-partner who did the sending!
- Once your send / post something in cyberspace, you lose control of it forever. There is no way to fully delete it.
- There can be unexpected consequences if the images are eventually seen by family, friends, people who don't like you, or even future employers.
- When the image involves someone under 18, sexting may violate Canada's child pornography laws.