Sexting has been defined as the creating, sharing and forwarding of sexually suggestive images. Such materials can be distributed to unintended third parties, often leading to embarrassment and harassment.
This is a frequent practice among young persons and often a consensual activity between peers. There are also many forms of 'unwanted sexting'. This refers to the non-consensual aspects of the activity, such as sharing or receiving unwanted sexually explicit photos or messages.
Sexting is the exchange of sexual explicit messages and images between two parties. While sexting is legal between two consenting adults, when a participant (who may be the subject, photographer, distributor, or recipient) is under 18 years old, child pornography laws may apply. As sexting has become a common practice among the adult culture, young people have also adopted this form of communication. A US-based 2018 study revealed that almost 27 percent of teens are receiving sexts and almost 15 percent are sending them, while a different study found that 22 percent of the 420 seventh grade students had engaged in sexting.
However, the casual attitude surrounding sexting has caused grave concerns. As sexting has considered to become a “norm” and a form of “relationship currency” to prove commitment in modern relationships, the pressure and coercion into sending a sexually explicit message or image is growing. Undoubtedly, there is a double standard for girls who not only feel more pressure to sext but are also presented with heightened criticisms and consequences than boys are.
Furthermore, while sexting might start out consensual in relationships, it can often go very wrong. Distribution of sexually explicit materials without the consent of the subject as act of anger, revenge or other social aggressions is widespread and more importantly can be a violation of child pornography laws when involving minors. In fact, 12 percent of teens in a study had admitted to have forwarded a sext without consent and 8.4 percent had one of their own sexts forwarded without their consent. It is important to always remember that in the digital world, it is difficult of control any shared information. Never send compromising images of yourself to anyone, no matter who they are.
“FAQ on 'Sexting' and 'Sextortion'.” ConnectSafely, Apr. 2018, www.connectsafely.org/faq-on-sexting-and-sextortion/.
Hoffman, Jan. “A Girl's Nude Photo, and Altered Lives.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 27 Mar. 2011, www.nytimes.com/2011/03/27/us/27sexting.html.
Lorang, M, et al. “Minors and Sexting: Legal Implications.” Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law , vol. 44, no. 1, Mar. 2016, pp. 73–81., jaapl.org/content/44/1/73.