For the past few years we've been hearing reports about how the kids are sexting themselves silly, leading overzealous law enforcement officials to crowd our sex offender registries with girls who sent out photos of themselves wearing a bra. Now a new study claims that the vast majority of teens have never sent or received a nude photo. We've never known the media to exaggerate stories involving teens and sex in a hysterical fashion, but let's hear the scientists out.
A study published in the journal Pediatrics today found that only 1% of kids ages 10 to 17 have sent out a nude photo of themselves or someone else, and about the same number have sent a suggestive, but non-nude photo, according to the Associated Press. 7% have received either kind of picture, which means some kids are supplying far more than their fair share of racy photos.
Other studies suggested that as many as 20% of teens have sent and received sexy texts, but the researchers say these figures were inaccurate because they included people in their early 20s. Plus, while previous research included texts that were merely suggestive, this study focused entirely on texts that included photos of kids in various states of undress. Though, it's possible this study was inaccurate. Researchers questioned "1,560 kids nationwide by phone, with parents' permission." We're guessing plenty of kids didn't want to disclose their full sexting history while their parents might be listening on the other line.
In interviews with police, researchers also found that a surprisingly small amount of police work involves cracking down on teens for randy correspondence. Between 2008 and 2009, there were about 4,000 teen sexing cases reported to police. Slightly more than one third led to arrests, and arrests were much more likely to occur when the case involved a teen and an adult exchanging messages.
The U.S. version of Skins is off the air, teen pregnancy rates are dropping, and now researchers say we've blown America's sexting crisis way out of proportion. Kids, you have to throw us a bone. Please invent some new and confusing method of exploring your sexuality, preferably with a snappy name, because we're running low on reasons to disapprovingly shake our heads at you.
Image via Peter Blazek/Shutterstock.