Sexting Facts

  • Boys are four times more likely to pressure girls into sending pictures.*  Though some girls initiate the picture sending process, boys are more likely to.
  • Girls report feeling pressure for photos. The pressure can be subtle, from asking more than once to extreme threatening self-harm: “I'm so depressed and the only thing that will stop me from wanting to hurt myself is your naked picture.”
  • The teenage brain is still developing, resulting in “act now, think later” behaviors.** Their impulses, combined with not understanding the rules of consent, can be a recipe for disaster.
  • While the focus is placed on girls to not send photos, boys must be taught that requesting photos is just as problematic .
  • Girls must understand they shouldn't be subordinate and it’s not their responsibility be the object of someone else’s sexual desire. Repeatedly, girls report, “I would feel badly” when discussing the importance of setting limits and boundaries with boys.
  • Sexting is evolving. Kids aren’t just sending naked pictures anymore, they're requesting, sending and receiving masturbation videos. This is a testament to the amount of pornography they're exposed to.
  • Some girls are finding ways to make a profit selling their naked photos.

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It's imperative to be proactive and talk to your children before sexting happens!

Motivators

  • Boys sext because they want a picture. Their friend got a naked picture and they want one. They target girls they heard other boys got pictures from.
  • Boys share photos for validation from their peers.
  • The motivation for girls to send naked pictures is relationship-based. They report feeling lonely and insecure, liking the attention or hoping it would begin or strengthen a relationship. They feel pressured into sending pictures and thinking the boys will like them more if they do.
  • Girls are more often sharing photos from the boys as a form of retaliation.

*Reed, L., Tolman, R., & Ward, L. (2017). Gender matters: Experiences and consequences of digital dating abuse victimization in adolescent dating relationships. Journal Of Adolescence, 59, 79-89
**Damour, L. (2018). Teenagers, Stop Asking for Nude Photos

Please note, the advice provided on this website is based on my experience working with kids for more than 20 years. It is NOT a substitute for direct mental health treatment with a licensed professional. Some mental and emotional issues are more complex and require one-on-one professional intervention.