Concerns about teen ’sexting’ overblown: Researchers

December 5th, 2011 - 5:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 5 (IANS) Concerns about teen sexting - appearing in, creating, or receiving sexual images or videos via cell phone or the Internet - may be overblown with the percentage of youth who send nude pictures of themselves that would qualify as child pornography very low, say researchers.

Teen sexting images do come to police attention, and a few are being arrested or treated like sex offenders, according to two new studies, carried out by researchers at University of New Hampshire (UHM) Crimes against Children Research Centre, reported the journal Paediatrics.

In the first study, researchers surveyed 1,560 Internet users aged between 10 through 17 about their experiences with sexting, according to a New Hampshire statement.

The study found that 2.5 percent of youth surveyed have participated in sexting in the past year, but only one percent involved images that potentially violate child pornography laws — images that showed “naked breasts, genitals or bottoms”.

“Lots of people may be hearing about these cases discovered by schools and parents because they create a furore, but it still involves a very small minority of youth,” Kimberly Mitchell, research assistant professor of psychology at the UNH Crimes, who led the study.

In the second study, researchers discovered that in most sexting cases investigated by the police, no juvenile arrest occurred.

The second study was based on a national sample of 675 sexting cases collected from a systematic survey of law enforcement agencies.

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