Good “Sexting” Among Teenage Girls: Measuring Prevalence And Risks Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Aliens, Teenagers, Study, Risk, Education, Internet, Telephone, Rice

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2021/01/18

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Recently, increasing promiscuity and risky sexual behaviors have raised awareness and concern among various institutions of the society. The prevalence of sexual activity among teenage men and women has serious negative implications that call for an immediate address and solution of the problem. All such implications are now being further worsened by the rise of technology, such as mobile phones and Internet, making communication easier and faster. Technological improvements worsen the problem of teenage risky sexual engagements and promiscuity with the emergence of “sexting.” Sexting or the exchange of sexually suggestive material over any digital platforms is now being considered a serious threat among teenagers whose use of mobile phones and Internet is prevalent nowadays. Teenagers’ access to modern-day technological advances opens them up to greater likelihood of engaging to sexting which, in return, may result to risky sexual behavior and unsafe sexual promiscuity. This paper aims to (1) define the meaning of sexting, (2) measure its prevalence among teenagers, particularly in teenage girls, (3) enumerate its negative outcomes, and (4) determine the solutions that may be effective in preventing its negative outcomes.
With the recent rise in researches conducted regarding sexting among teenagers, no one definition of it has been accepted universally. One study defines sexting as “the sending or receiving of sexually explicit material (including written messages and images) via cell phone” (Rice 668). This definition isolates sexting as an activity that takes place only via cellular phones. Another study defined sexting as “the creation and transmission of sexual images by minors,” a definition that delimits sexting to exist only if it involves just images and minors (Lounsbury et al. 1). Another definition is parallel to the previous definition demarcating sexting to be an activity conducted only by minors or youth involving only sexually-suggestive images (Wolak et al. 5). Another definition is more general, identifying sexting as “the transmission of nude (or seminude) images via an electronic device” (Houck et al. 2). For the purpose of clarity and uniformity, this paper will define sexting as any exchange, consensual or not, of sexually suggestive material over any electronic platforms—a definition that is based on the definitions stated above. Sexting has become a prevalent trend among teenagers resulting heightened awareness and concern among their adult guardians and caretakers.
Being largely related to the use of modern-day technological devices, the likelihood of teenagers engaging in sexting and other explicit behaviors in digital platforms is increased by their access to Internet, mobile phones, and other electronic devices. As one study showed, 93%of youths aged 12 to 13 years old—ages that still need close supervision—have access to Internet and 73% of those children have mobile access to Internet including mobile phones (Houck et al. 2). Furthermore, 68% of those subjects have mobile phones with 23% having a smart phone (Houck et al. 2). This study, despite being limited to small sample size, reflects the widespread use of electronic devices, particularly mobile phones, among children, especially those of adolescent age who are reported to send an average of 60 SMS per day (Houck et al. 2). This easy access to electronic devices given to youths nowadays is seen now as the main route for the perpetration of sexting among youths.
Various studies have been conducted over the years to measure the exact prevalence of teenagers who engage in sexting. However, the diversity of definition used to identify sexting and the lack of universal standard as to when teenage begins have all contributed to the unavailability of concrete data. As a result, studies aiming to measure the actual prevalence of sexting among teenagers relatively vary. Among such studies is the 2009 nationally representative research employing 12- to 17-year-olds (Rice et al. 668). The research showed that 4% of the group owned cell phones and used them to engage in sexting, particularly by sending nude and/or semi-nude photos and/or videos, whereas another 15% of the group reported being recipients of such explicit materials of someone they knew (Rice et al. 668). Another study that surveyed high school students in Northeastern United States showed that 15% have experienced receiving explicit sexts with nude photos and 32% reported knowing someone who took part in such type of sexting (Rice et al. 668). Another study conducted over the Internet in 2008 showed that 20% of teenagers have reported sending nude and/or semi-nude images of themselves, while another 39% reported sending sexually suggestive texts, E-mails, or instant messages (Rice et al. 668). One more study employing youths aged 10 to 17 years old who actively use the Internet were surveyed for sexting activities (Houck et al. 2). The results showed that only 1-2.5% reported engaging in explicit photos (Houck et al. 2). In truth, the facts presented above are just small fractions of the overall population of youths, especially when taking into consideration the varying definitions of sexting and the indefinite age brackets being employed in the studies. However, despite this low probability event showed by the studies enumerated above, sexting still imposes potential risks for youths which may cause health, social, and legal problems (Houck et al. 2). The impact of these problems in women will also be magnified.
Teenagers who engage in sexting tend to engage in risky sexual behaviors and activities too (Houck et al. 2). As found by one study, teenagers who engage in sexting are 7 times more likely to engage in actual sexual activity and twice more likely to engage in unprotected sex compared to their peers (Houck et al. 2). Furthermore, teenagers in 10th and 11th grades who participate in sexting are more likely to be sexually active (Houck et al. 2). Taking into consideration teenage girls, it was found that those who send naked photos of themselves are more likely to engage in risky sex activities including multiple partners and/or substance abuse before sex (Houck et al. 2). Given the data above, sexting, in essence, promotes sexual promiscuity which may lead to risky activities and unprotected intercourse among teenagers. Such promiscuity and risky sexual behavior undoubtedly have serious negative health implications that include the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections or STIs (Houck et al. 2; Rice et al. 668). In women, health problems brought about by risky and unprotected sexual activities, as can be promoted by sexting, are increased with unintended pregnancy (Houck et al. 2; Rice et al. 668). Aside from health implications, teenagers who engage in sexting also face negative social outcomes.
As found by one study, teenagers who engage in sexting influence their peers (Rice et al. 668). Adolescents typically have a difficult time managing emotions which may affect their capacity to decide for themselves and be influenced by other people (Houck et al. 2). For this reason, sexting teens may largely influence other teens of their groups and promulgate the risky activity of sexting. Sexting also has the danger of widely transmitting explicit photos of a non-consenting individual throughout his/her technologically active social groups (Rice et al. 668). Social groups in this sense may act as a distributing medium that may help in proliferating a teenager’s explicit photo without consent. Aside from social, sexting also has negative legal outcomes that raise increasing awareness not just among parents but also among legal institutions, police, and the government.
Teenagers who engage in sexting qualify for child pornography regardless if the explicit materials they produce are theirs or other people’s (Wolak et al. 5). Teenagers who sext are commonly unaware that they are producing and/or collecting explicit material that may be permanently accessible and available to colleges and employers, affecting their future to proceed in colleges and jobs (Wolak et al. 5). Currently, teenagers being charged with child pornography committed the crime unknowingly because of sexting (Wolak et al. 5). And as they get charged with child pornography, such teenagers become permanently recorded in sex offender registries, negatively impacting their capacity to get employed and function in a society free of scrutiny of legal institutions (Wolak et al. 5). In this concept of sexting, teenage women are also faced with greater difficulty. As reported by one study, sexting perpetrated by older men involves teenage women who consent because of either emotional attachment to the perpetrator or the perpetrators’ abusive treatment towards them if they fail to comply to what is being demanded (Gordon-Messer et al. 2; Wolak et al. 11).
In reality, sexting may be a safer alternative to actual sex especially among couples who are just starting to date (Gordon-Messer et al. 2). Furthermore, sexting may reduce the risk associated with actual sexual intercourse so long as participants would use it solely as a way to avoid unsafe sex or intercourse with an unknown partner (Gordon-Messer et al. 2; Rice et al. 668). However, adolescents are not included in those who may engage in sexting in replacement of actual sex as they are too young to engage in sexual activities. Adolescents, aside from having weaker emotional management (Houck et al. 2), have difficulty deciding right for themselves and sexting may influence their likelihood to engage in activities they may regret later in life and may result in compromised health, social standing, and legal records.
Sexting raises increasing awareness among parents and other institutions of society as it increases the likelihood of adolescents engaging in risky sex behaviors and therefore increasing the prevalence of youths suffering from the complications of unprotected and risky sex acts. Sexting is the act of transmitting and receiving sexually suggestive materials over electronic devices—an act being done prevalently by teenagers nowadays. Sexting may have serious implications on health, social, and legal status of teenagers who have weaker ability to manage emotions. While sexting may be a good alternative to actual sex to avoid its negative complications, teenagers must still not participate in it especially since they do not see it as an alternative to sex, but rather as a way to be more enticed by the act. Sexting among teens stirs up their curiosity and tendency to participate in sex in order to experiment (Wolak et al. 7). Parents and other institutions must be more vigilant in supervising children and keeping them from sexting. Mobile applications and other softwares may be developed to make sure that no youth can participate in sexting in the future.

Works Cited

Gordon-Messner, Deborah, et al. “Sexting among young adults.” J Adolesc Health 52.3 (2013): 301-306. NIH. Web. 05 Apr. 2015.
Houck, Christopher D., et al. “Sexting and Sexual Behavior in At-Risk Adolescents.” Pediatrics 133.2 (Feb. 2014): 1-7. Web. 05 Apr. 2015.
Lounsbury, Kaitlin, et al. “The True Prevalence of “Sexting.”’ Crimes Against Children Research Center: University of New Hampshire (Apr. 2011). Web. 05 Apr. 2015.
Rice, Eric, et al. “Sexually Explicit Cell Phone Messaging Associated With Sexual Risk Among Adolescents.” Pediatrics 130.4 (Oct. 2012): 667-673. Web. 05 Apr. 2015.
Wolak, Janis, et al. “How Often Are Teens Arrested for Sexting? Data From a National Sample of Police Cases.” Pediatrics 129.1 (Jan. 2012): 4-12. Web. 05 Apr. 2015.

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WePapers. (2021, January, 18) Good “Sexting” Among Teenage Girls: Measuring Prevalence And Risks Essay Example. Retrieved July 23, 2021, from
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Good “Sexting” Among Teenage Girls: Measuring Prevalence And Risks Essay Example. Free Essay Examples - Published Jan 18, 2021. Accessed July 23, 2021.

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