Apr 8, 2009

I School Researchers Discuss "Sexting" Statistics

From the Wall Street Journal

Which Is Epidemic -- Sexting or Worrying About It?

By Carl Bialik

It seemed like more troubling evidence that kids these days engage in behavior they wouldn't want to write home about. Researchers recently found that one in five teenagers have shared nude or semi-nude photos of themselves by cellphone or online. That statistic has become a fixture in articles about "sexting" and its social and legal implications.

But that number may be inflated, because the same teenagers who have engaged in such behavior could be the ones most likely to say they have done so in an online poll. To find out how many teenagers are sharing personal information over new media, researchers last year asked teenagers personal questions using one of those new media, skewing the sample....

But it doesn't need to be common for a significant number of teens to have done it at least once. And some of Prof. Pascoe's collaborators on the Digital Youth project are bigger believers in the phenomenon. Christo Sims, a doctoral student at Berkeley's School of Information, said, "20% seems high to me," but he added that he "wouldn't be surprised" if it were that prevalent.

Danah Boyd, a researcher at Microsoft Research New England [and 2008 I School Ph.D. alumna], noted that cellphone use among teens has increased since the Berkeley study, which she also worked on. "I've been talking to a lot of teens lately, and I'm certainly seeing this practice to be relatively common," Dr. Boyd says. "I can't even begin to guess numbers, though."



Last updated:

October 4, 2016