Survey: Teens sharing nude images online
Recent survey finds that sex, tech and teens make bad bedfellows
today.msnbc.msn.com, December 10, 2008
When it comes to sex, tech and teens don't make the best bedfellows. As tech-savvy teens become increasingly fluent with new technology, from social networking sites to tricked-out new cell phones, research finds the negative consequences stacking up.
According to the results of a survey released today by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com, 22 percent of all teen girls - and 11 percent of teen girls ages 13-16 years old - say they have electronically sent, or posted online, nude or semi-nude images of themselves.
And these racy images are also getting passed around:
say they have had nude/semi-nude images - originally meant to be private - shared with them.
Sharing is baring
For some teens, like 16-year-old Megan, the downside to "sex-ting" quickly became apparent.
The photo that Megan and her friend sent showed the then-14-year-old girls with their shirts pulled up, revealing their bras.
But it turns out that teen girls are not the only ones sharing sexually explicit content.
According to the survey,
say they have sent or posted such images.
The online survey of 1,280 teens and young adults - done by TRU, a company that conducts research on teens and 20-somethings - indicates that 15 percent of teens who have sent sexually suggestive content such as text messages, e-mail, photographs or video say they have done so with someone they only know online.
Real life imitates life online
What teens and young adults are doing electronically seems to have an effect on what they do in real life:
Here are five tips ...
... from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy to help parents talk to their kids about sex and technology.
Just as you need to talk openly and honestly with your kids about real-life sex and relationships, you also want to discuss online and cell phone activity. Make sure your kids fully understand that messages or pictures they send over the Internet or their cell phones are not truly private or anonymous. Also make sure they know that others might forward their pictures or messages to people they do not know or want to see them, and that school administrators and employers often look at online profiles to make judgments about potential students/employees. It's essential that your kids grasp the potential short-term and long-term consequences of their actions.
Of course it's a given that you want to know who your children are spending time with when they leave the house. Also do your best to learn who your kids are spending time with online and on the phone. Supervising and monitoring your kids' whereabouts in real life and in cyberspace doesn't make you a nag; it's just part of your job as a parent. Many young people consider someone a "friend" even if they've only met online. What about your kids?
The days of having to talk on the phone in the kitchen in front of the whole family are long gone, but you can still limit the time your kids spend online and on the phone. Consider, for example, telling your teen to leave the phone on the kitchen counter when they're at home and to take the laptop out of their bedroom before they go to bed, so they won't be tempted to log on or talk to friends at 2 a.m.
Check out your teen's MySpace, Facebook and other public online profiles from time to time. This isn't snooping - this is information your kids are making public. If everyone else can look at it, why can't you? Talk with them specifically about their own notions of what is public and what is private. Your views may differ, but you won't know until you ask, listen and discuss.
Make sure you are clear with your teen about what you consider appropriate "electronic" behavior. Just as certain clothing is probably off-limits or certain language unacceptable in your house, make sure you let your kids know what is and is not allowed online, too. And give reminders of those expectations from time to time. It doesn't mean you don't trust your kids, it just reinforces that you care about them enough to be paying attention.
Here are five tips from ...
... the National Campaign that looks at what young people should think about before pressing "send."