Sexting Study Shows Serious Consequences

For the past three years, Donald Strassberg, a professor of psychology, has been conducting a study with U students to see if sexting is still affecting teenagers.
The first study Strassberg conducted was at a private high school in Utah. But his more recent follow-up study with college students had a broader sample size of about 1,130 participants to see if sexting trends differed with age groups. The researchers defined sexting as sending, receiving or forwarding pictures of genitals, breasts or the naked body to another person on a cell phone.
The results Strassberg found were about the same as before, with many people still sending these pictures to each other. Strassberg said this can have serious consequences beyond any initial embarassment.
“No matter how old the person is in the pictures, many of them have to change schools or end up committing suicide,” he said.
In this study, Strassberg found that it was mostly people in relationships that were sending these pictures to each other.
“Boyfriends and girlfriends with a press of a button could send these pictures that would never go away,” he said.
In the study he found that those who were sexting more were also more likely to be sexually active than the ones who didn’t. Those individuals also tended to send more text messages in general.
The researchers also tried to study the correlation between religious affiliations and sexting. They compared extremely religious people to those with no affiliations and found that students with stronger religious participation were less likely to sext. They also compared LDS students to non-LDS students to see if there was a difference in their texting behaviors, but Strassberg found no correlation.
Braxton Dutson, a graduate student in social work, said sexting is often “thrown out of proportion” by teenagers who don’t understand the consequences.
“It can get out of hand and be harmful to teens’ future plans,” he said.
Strassberg said one of the consequences of sexting can be a criminal record. Sending a nude picture can result in charges of child pornography, depending on the age of the individuals involved.
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