Teens, Sex and Technology, What's Really Going On

| by National Campaign

WASHINGTON -- One in five teen girls (22%)—and 11% of teen girls ages 13-16 years old—say they have electronically sent, or posted online, nude or semi-nude images of themselves. According to the results of a survey released today by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and, these racy images are also getting passed around: One-third (33%) of teen boys and one-quarter (25%) of teen girls say they have had nude/semi-nude images—originally meant to be private—shared with them.

The survey of 1,280 teens and young adults—conducted online by TRU, a global leader in research on teens and 20-somethings—indicates that 15% of teens who have sent sexually suggestive content such as text messages, email, photographs or video say they have done so with someone they only know online.

Teen girls are not the only ones sharing sexually explicit content. Almost one in five teen boys (18%) say they have sent or posted nude/semi nude images of themselves. One-third (33%) of young adults—36% of women and 31% of men ages 20-26—say they have sent or posted such images. What teens and young adults are doing electronically seems to have an effect on what they do in real life: Nearly one-quarter of teens (22%) admit that technology makes them personally more forward and aggressive. More than one-third of teens (38%) say exchanging sexy content makes dating or hooking up with others more likely and nearly one-third of teens (29%) believe those exchanging sexy content are “expected” to date or hook up.

“Teenagers are early adopters of technology—from the latest social networking sites to the hottest new cell phones,” says Susan Schulz, Special Projects Editor, Hearst Magazines. “While this tech savvy can be seen as a positive, our study reveals there's also a negative side. Teenagers should be aware of the real consequences to this type of behavior and we need to provide them with guidance and encourage them to make smart choices.”

“That so many young people say technology is encouraging an even more casual, hook-up culture is reason for concern, given the high rates of teen and unplanned pregnancy in the United States,” said Marisa Nightingale, Senior Advisor to the Entertainment Media Program at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “Parents should understand that their own notions of what’s public, what’s private, and what’s appropriate, may differ greatly from how teens and young adults define these concepts.”

To read the full survey, Sex and Tech: What's Really Going On, click here.

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