Sexting on the rise? How it’s becoming normalized and why you should care
By Contributing Guest: Sydney Craig
Communications student at Brigham Young University
On February 27, 2018 The Washington Post came out with an article titled “One in four teens are sexting, a new study shows. Relax, researchers say, it’s mostly normal.” What is sexting exactly? Sexting is defined as “a sexually explicit image, video or message that is sent electronically” Since when is sexting, a crime considered illegal among minors in many states, deemed normal?
A study published earlier that week shows that one in four teenagers report that they’ve received a sext, and one in seven teens have sent a sext. This study, done by the Journal of the American Medical Association, deems sexting as “an emerging, and potentially normal, component of sexual behavior and development.”
Even the Washington Post published an article titled “A guide to safe sexting” merely four years ago. Articles like this one are encouraging young people to sext and make them think that it is becoming more common and accepted by their peers, however, not all of it is consensual. The research states that “12% of people reported that they had forwarded a sext without consent and 8.5% said that a sext of theirs had been forwarded without their consent”. Sending sexts without someone’s permission can lead to criminal charges.
Sexting is on the rise and the media is teaching young teens that sexting is the norm and everyone is doing it, so they should have nothing to fear. However, Dr. Englander, the director of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center and a professor of psychology at Bridgewater State University has stated that young adults need to understand that “Once you send a photo you can never control it again. That does seem to strike more of a chord with kids.”
Sexting is not a game as it can lead to serious, long-lasting consequences and that is something teenagers need to understand. Currently, eight states have declared pornography a public health crisis or risk. More states need to jump on board. How can we get the media to stop portraying sexting and pornography as acceptable and healthy parts of life? When will enough be enough?
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