October 1, 2011
Teenagers Feeling Pressure To Be Involved In ‘Sexting’
New government-funded research says teenagers are "sexting" because they are facing pressure from peers and media.
Melbourne University researcher Shelley Walker told the Australasian Sexual Health Conference on Thursday that men were made to feel their masculinity was in question if they did not partake in sexting.
Walker said her study involved interviews with 15 male and 18 female participants between the ages of 15 and 20. She said all of the participants had "at least one story to share, if not more."
She said the study highlighted the need for young people to have a greater say in how to respond to sexting.
The study participants talked about the increasingly sexual nature of advertising and the sexual behavior of adult role models.
A 16-year-old boy in the study said he thought sexting was a big problem no one was taking seriously.
The researchers said both genders in the study talked about the pressure girls experienced from boyfriends or strangers to reciprocate on exchanging sexual images.
They said some young women talked about the expectation to be involved in sexting.
Walker said sexting is becoming out of control as young people keep up with new technologies being made available through smartphones.
“Our study reveals how complex and ever-changing the phenomenon of ℠sexting´ is and that continued meaningful dialogue is needed to address and prevent the negative consequences of sexting for young people,” she said in a press release.
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