The exchange of sexually explicit cell phone pictures (sexting) among high school students

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Publication Type honors thesis
School or College College of Social & Behavioral Science
Department Psychology
Faculty Mentor Donald S. Strassberg
Creator Velarde, Valerie
Title The exchange of sexually explicit cell phone pictures (sexting) among high school students
Year graduated 2014
Date 2014-05
Description The sending, receiving, and forwarding of sexually explicit pictures via cell phone, a relatively recent phenomenon known as sexting, has recently received substantial media attention, including reports of serious consequences for some of those engaged in sexting (e.g., suicidal ideations, sex offender registration). Often unbeknownst to adolescents, sexting poses a number of legal and psychosocial threats, and youth, parents, and school administrators must understand this phenomenon and its potential impact on teens in order to design appropriate educational measures. The current study aimed to assess the current and potential future impact of sexting by determining the prevalence of this behavior among adolescents. All participants were students (N= 661) attending the same private high school (in the Intermountain West) surveyed in our lab's previous study. They were asked a series of questions regarding their experience in sending, receiving, and forwarding sexually explicit pictures via cell phone. Approximately 15% of the participants reported having sent a sexually explicit cell phone picture, while 35.8% reported having received one, and 10.2% reported having forwarded one. There was no significant difference between the percentage of males or females who sent or forwarded a sexually explicit picture via cell phone, but significantly more males than females (61.5% versus 38.5%) received such a picture. Year in school was also insignificant; older students (i.e. seniors) were not more likely to have sent, received, and forwarded a sexually explicit picture than their younger cohort (i.e. freshmen). Finally, level of religiosity did not play a substantial role in whether students participated in sexting. These data make clear that significant numbers of adolescent boys and girls are engaging in sexting despite the many potential serious consequences of doing so. The implications of this for interventions and further research are discussed.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Sexting; Adolescents; Social media
Language eng
Rights Management (c) Valerie Velarde
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 514,136 bytes
Permissions Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=1312243
ARK ark:/87278/s6sx9phc
Setname ir_htoa
Date Created 2016-11-10
Date Modified 2019-07-10
ID 205929
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6sx9phc
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