Peer pressure drives ’sexting’ among young

October 2nd, 2011 - 1:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Oct 2 (IANS) Peer pressure drives young men and women to share sexual images through mobile phones — a new phenomenon described as ’sexting’.

“However, research regarding the issue is in its infancy, and the voice of young people is missing from this discussion and debate,” said Shelley Walker from the Primary Care Research Unit at the University of Melbourne.

The qualitative study involved individual interviews with a group of males and females aged 15-20 years, according to a Melbourne statement.

Preliminary findings revealed that a highly sexualized media culture bombarded people with sexualized images and created pressure to engage in sexting.

Young people discussed the pressure boys place on each others to have girls’ photos on their phones and computers.

They said if boys refrained from engaging in the activity they were labelled ‘gay’ or could be ostracised from the peer group.

Both genders talked about the pressure girls experienced from boyfriends or strangers to reciprocate on exchanging sexual images.

Walker said ’sexting’ is a rapidly changing problem as young people keep up with new technologies such as using video and internet via mobile phones.

The findings were presented at the 2011 Australasian Sexual Health Conference in Canberra.

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