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In a 2008 survey of 1,280 teenagers and young adults of both sexes sponsored by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 20% of teens (13–20) and 33% of young adults (20–26) had sent nude or semi-nude photographs of themselves electronically.
Additionally, 39% of teens and 59% of young adults had sent sexually explicit text messages.
Perhaps shedding light on the over-reporting of earlier studies, the researchers found that the figure rose to 9.6% when the definition was broadened from images prosecutable as child pornography to any suggestive image, not necessarily nude ones.
has received wide international media attention for calling into question the findings reported by the University of New Hampshire researchers.
A 2009 study found that 4 percent of teenagers aged 14–17 claim to have sent sexually explicit photos of themselves.
Fifteen percent of these teens also claimed to have received sexually explicit photos.
Whether sexting is seen as a positive or negative experience typically rests on the basis of whether or not consent was given to share the images.In the University of Utah's study, researchers Donald S. Sustaíta, and Jordan Rullo surveyed 606 teenagers ages 14–18 and found that nearly 20 percent of the students said they had sent a sexually explicit image of themselves via cell phone, and nearly twice as many said that they had received a sexually explicit picture.Of those receiving such a picture, over 25 percent indicated that they had forwarded it to others.The difference between using these applications and traditional texting is that content is transmitted over the Internet or a data plan, allowing anyone with Internet access to participate.Snapchat appeals to teens because it allows users to send photos for a maximum of ten seconds before they self-destruct.However, while technically accurate, the 2.5% figure is actually rather misleading.As seen in Table 1 of their publication, Mitchell et al.Sexting is sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photographs, or images, primarily between mobile phones, of oneself to others.It may also include the use of a computer or any digital device.Nevertheless, Australian laws currently view under-18s as being unable to give consent to sexting, even if they meet the legal age for sexual consent.Sexting has been promoted further by several direct messaging applications that are available on smartphones.