Having a cell phone seems pretty much de rigeur for most teens today. But these new sexting stats from Seventeen.com may give you pause before handing one over. According to the site's study of more than 11,000 girls ages 14 to 22, 84 percent have been asked to take and send a nude photo—and 62 percent copped to actually doing it.
Whoa... That's a pretty big number! But here's the thing.... while there are so many reasons not to send out nude pics—like the fact that if you're under 18, taking and sending nudes can actually be considered creating and distributing child pornography—it's all too easy to give in and snap a quick pic on your phone, then send it out without thinking about the consequences. Which is why whether it's for their boyfriend, a kid at school, or some rando they met on social, teen girls get talked into sending nudes out every single day.
To wit: Only 31 percent of the girls surveyed by Seventeen said they'd never take or send nudes, despite the fact that of the girls who did send out sexy pics, 13 percent admitted that their images had been leaked and shared. And if that doesn't scare you enough to just say no, here are a few of the sexting-gone-wrong stories the respondents shared:
"A guy who had some of my nudes asked me to send him a nude in a specific pose. He threatened if I didn't, he'd upload all my nudes to a new Facebook profile and add my family members so they could see them. I was so afraid, I did what he asked." — Jade, 21
"My ex-boyfriend threatened to break up with me if I didn't send him nudes. I sent the photos and asked him to delete them. He said he did, but it turned out he didn't. He showed them around at church." — Abby, 19
"A boy at my school made a private social media account that contained nudes from a ton of girls. He sold the account's password to other boys for profit." — Devin, 18
"I was hooking up with a friend who I close with. When he asked me for a nude picture I didn't really understand the harm, because I trusted him and he had seen me in person before. I sent the picture on a Thursday night, and by Friday night, everyone had seen it. It was posted to three of my group chats with my friends." — Coco, 18
As a parent, these stories make me so sad. Sending out nudes has become way too common and the trend needs to stop now. Which means it's time for us to sit down with our sons and daughters and remind them that it's never OK to pressure someone into sending you a nude pic, nor is it cool to make someone else feel like they owe you one. We need to remind them that if someone is trying to push them to do something they don't want to, they can and should stick to their boundaries. Because like the girls in the examples above, their lives can change in an instant and all it takes is one simple click.
Want the latest parenting news? Sign up for our Parents Daily newsletter