Editors' note: The original headline on this story was changed at 4:19 PST to more accurately reflect the story.
Remember when we were all crying about the fact that AT&T delayed the rollout of multimedia messaging on the iPhone? Well, some parents may now be wishing the feature wasn't available at all.
Sending explicit content, such as naked or near-naked photos, via text message--a phenomenon also known as "sexting"--is a familiar phenomenon among some teens, according to survey results released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.
The survey, conducted from June 26 to September 24 with the participation of 800 teenagers, is part of the research center's Internet and American Life Project, which tracks the effect of the Internet on American life. It found that 4 percent of cell-owning teens ages 12 to 17 say they've sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images of themselves to someone else via text. Fifteen percent say they have received such material.
Older teens, especially those who foot their own cell phone bills, are much more likely to send and receive these images. While 8 percent of 17-year-olds with cell phones have sent a sexually provocative image by text, this number goes up to 17 percent among those who pay their bills themselves. In all, 30 percent of 17-year-olds have received explicit images on their phones.
The survey also shows that while the exchange of nude images mostly takes place among romantic partners or potential partners of the same age, these images are also forwarded to non-partners or people in different age groups. And this is where things can get really ugly. … Read more