Internet Culture

Sexting still a danger for teens, says study

It's true some teens are wary of the practice. But others? Not so much.

Morgan Little/CNET

Most teens consider sexting to be a crime, but older teens are less likely to think it has negative consequences. That's the word from a new study by researchers at Boston University and the University of New Hampshire.

The study, set for the September issue of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and currently available online, also found that girls are more likely than boys to think sexting would hurt their chances of getting a job.

Sexting can lead to big trouble. The practice, defined by Criminal Defense Lawyer as "the taking, sending and receiving of nude or sexual photos or videos by electronic means, such as text message," can in some cases be prosecuted under laws that govern child pornography, a felony. In the US, a number of states have established sexting laws, with many specifically addressing sexting and minors. Penalties, says CDL, can involve both juvenile and adult courts. 

In the new study, researchers collected data from 1,560 children aged 10 to 17 and their adult caregivers through interviews and phone surveys.

Some key findings are noted by Journalist's Resource. Out of all the participants, 14 percent of the teens didn't think or weren't sure sexting can be a crime. The younger respondents, aged 10 to 12, were more likely than older teens to report sexting pictures to authorities. Another interesting finding: Hispanic teens were more likely to think sexting would hurt relationships with family, and black respondents were more likely to think they could get in trouble with police through sexting.