Is Your Teen Having 'Tech Sex'?

December 11, 2008

According to a new study, 20% of teenage girls have used their cell phones to send nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves to others.

Check your teenager's cell phone right now. According to a new study, 20% of teenage girls have used their cell phones to send nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves to others.

As technology has advanced, so has the ability of teens to pass covert messages back and forth. Instead of tossing a folded up piece of paper back and forth in homeroom, they are using cell phones to send text and picture messages. Recently, a new trend has emerged. Some are calling it "sexting," sending a sexually suggestive or explicit photo to another phone via picture message.

A new study reports that 20% of teens are engaging in this behavior, as are about 33% of young adults aged 20 to 26. Not only are they sending racy and revealing pictures, they are sending flirtatious text messages, as well. The study says that 39% of teens have sent suggestive text messages, as have 59% of the 20 to 26 age bracket.

Most of the time, the racy images and messages are sent between girlfriends and boyfriends, but things can turn sour after a breakup. Too often, those racy messages are shared with others once a couple has called it quits. Many teenagers report being more forward with members of the opposite sex digitally than they would be in real life. In other words, they'll say things via text message that they wouldn't necessarily have the gumption to say out loud.

Some more scary stats show that 48% of teens have received sexually suggestive text messages, with 64% of young adults claiming the same.

So if you thought your teenager was using their cell phone to network with their friends and makes plans for Saturday night, you may want to think again.

Another issue to consider is this: Is your health practice or business at risk because your younger employees are using company property--their BlackBerries, etc--to engage in this behavior? If you're not sure, it may be time to take some steps to protect yourself and your business.