On the Loose: A Guide to Online Life for Post-Secondary Students supports young adults who are experiencing both new freedoms and challenges in their post- secondary life.

Sexting

A recent phenomenon relating to young people and technology is “sexting”, where sexual, nude and semi-nude images are exchanged electronically. This section looks at how often young people of different ages are sending and sharing sexts; the reasons why they do it; how boys and girls’ sexting habits are different; and ways that parents, teachers and other adults can respond.

Parents, schools and law enforcement agencies are grappling with how best to respond to this issue. In the United States, sexting amongst youth has resulted in teens facing child pornography charges.

MediaSmarts’ YCWW research found that sexting has other aspects that are gendered in interesting ways. While boys were more likely than girls to say that they had received a sext from the sender (32 percent compared to 17 percent of girls) and were slightly more likely to have forwarded a sext sent directly to them (16 percent compared to 12 percent of girls), they were more likely to have had a sext they sent forwarded (26 percent compared to 20 percent of girls).

Aside from being part of a cluster of risky behaviours, however, there is little evidence that sending sexts is by itself a risky act: for example, one study done with American university students found that many reported positive experiences.[1]

Since sexting – and, in particular, our concerns about it – are regularly portrayed as a largely female phenomenon, it may be surprising that MediaSmarts’ YCWW data shows boys and girls being equally likely to send sexts of themselves.

A recent phenomenon relating to young people and technology is “sexting”, where sexual, nude and semi-nude images are exchanged electronically. MediaSmarts’ Young Canadians in a Wired World (YCWW) research has found that a relatively small number of students send sexts: just eight percent of students in grades 7-11 with cell phone access (though this rises to 15 percent by Grade 11).

Talking to Your Kids about Sexting — Tip Sheet

Sexting is most likely to have negative consequences when the person sending the sext has been pressured into doing it.

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