15 Percent of Teens Say They’ve Sexted

About 15 percent of teenagers say they’ve shared a sexually explicit image or video of themselves over the internet or via phone messaging, researchers say.

And nearly twice as many — about 27 percent — said they’ve received a “sext,” either from the original sender or from someone passing it along, according to a review of 39 prior studies.

Sexting between teenagers is increasing with the widespread use of camera-equipped smartphones and computers, said Sheri Madigan, lead researcher of the new report.

Madigan said she doesn’t find the study results surprising, given that 2 out of every 5 high school students engage in sexual intercourse and half of adults report that they’ve sexted.

“I think 15 percent of youths reporting that they’re sexting isn’t as surprising when you think about those other statistics,” said Madigan, an assistant professor of psychology with the University of Calgary in Canada.

What’s more surprising and concerning, she said, is that nearly as many teens say they’ve shared a sext that wasn’t theirs.

“About 12 to 13 percent of kids are reporting they have forwarded on a sext to another person without consent of the sender,” Madigan said. “They’re forwarding on other people’s sexually explicit images or videos without consent.”

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SOURCES: Sheri Madigan, Ph.D., assistant professor, psychology, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Elizabeth Ochoa, Ph.D., chief psychologist, Mount Sinai Beth Israel, New York City; Elizabeth Englander, Ph.D., professor, psychology, Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, Mass.; Feb. 26, 2018, JAMA Pediatrics

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