Older teens are less likely than younger kids to think they’d get in trouble for sexting, new research finds.
The study, to be published in a forthcoming issue of Computers in Human Behavior, also indicates boys are less likely than girls to believe sexting can have serious consequences. For example, girls are more likely to say sexting would result in trouble at school or hurt their chances of getting a job.
For the purposes of this study, the researchers describe sexting as “the digital recording of sexually suggestive or explicit images and distribution by mobile phone messaging or through the internet, such as through social network sites.”
The findings come as schools and families nationwide struggle to control how kids use technology to socialize. In Ohio, legislators introduced a bill in May 2018 that would extend the age of individuals who are banned from sexting to 19 years. In the United States, it’s generally illegal for anyone younger than 18 to do it. Kids cannot give consent to allow anyone — not even themselves — to take sexually explicit photos or videos of them. Sexting, even between teens who are dating, can be considered child pornography.