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Perhaps shedding light on the over-reporting of earlier studies, the researchers found that the figure rose to 9.6% when the definition was broadened from images prosecutable as child pornography to any suggestive image, not necessarily nude ones.
has received wide international media attention for calling into question the findings reported by the University of New Hampshire researchers.
most media coverage fixates on negative aspects of adolescent usage.
While film cameras often required a dark room to process negatives, modern camera phones can record sexually explicit images and videos in privacy.
Those sending photos over Snapchat believe they will disappear without consequences so they feel more secure about sending them.
There have been several cases where teens have sent photos over these applications, expecting them to disappear or be seen by the recipient only, yet are saved and distributed, carrying social and legal implications.
In a 2008 survey of 1,280 teenagers and young adults of both sexes sponsored by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 20% of teens (13-20) and 33% of young adults (20-26) had sent nude or semi-nude photographs of themselves electronically.
Additionally, 39% of teens and 59% of young adults had sent sexually explicit text messages.
Fifteen percent of these teens also claimed to have received sexually explicit photos.
The study had a small sample size, so more research needs to be done surrounding sexting and motivation, but it is clear that sexting is a phenomenon that is not constrained to simply unattached individuals looking for fun; it is used by those in intimate relationships to increase feelings of intimacy and closeness one's partner.
For teens, sexting can also act as a prelude (or in lieu of) sexual activity, as an experimental phase for those who are yet to be sexually active, and for those who are hoping to start a relationship with someone.
Based on the interviews conducted by Albury and Crawford, they discovered that sexting is commonly used in positive aspects.
According to Albury and Crawford, sexting was not only an activity occurring in the context of flirtation or sexual relationships, but also between friends, as a joke or during a moment of bonding.” Reportedly, hedonism played a role in motivating sexting, and the length of relationship was negatively correlated with sexting behaviors.