To determine the current and potential future impact of sexting on adolescents, we need more information about youths’ attitudes and beliefs concerning this behavior. Using a national sample of 1560 youth Internet users, ages 10 to 17, collected between 2010 and 2011, the present study examined the attitudes and beliefs about the impact of sexting as well as youths’ likelihood of reporting it to authorities. Results indicate that the majority of youth considered sexting to be a crime. Compared with youth not involved in sexting, youth who were involved in sexting were less likely to consider sexting a crime and did not believe that sexting would hurt their chances of getting a job, hurt friendships, romantic relationships, or their relationship with their family. Boys and older youth held more favorable attitudes towards sexting than girls and younger youth. Boys were also less likely to say that they would report sexting to authorities and less likely to say that they would talk to their friends in order to prevent them from sexting. Youth who reported substance use, had ever had sexual intercourse, and intentional pornography consumption, were less likely to think sexting would hurt friendships or relationships, or say they would report sexting than youth not involved in these activities.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
For the purposes of compliance with Section 507 of PL 104–208 (the “Stevens Amendment”), readers are advised that 100% of the funds for this program are derived from federal sources. This project was supported by Grant No. 2009-SNeB9-0002 awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice . Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Psychology (all)