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Prevalence of Sexting Is Increasing in Youth Under 18

Last Updated: February 28, 2018.

The prevalences of sending and receiving sexts are 14.8 and 27.4 percent, respectively, among youth, according to a review published online Feb. 28 in JAMA Pediatrics.

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 28, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalences of sending and receiving sexts are 14.8 and 27.4 percent, respectively, among youth, according to a review published online Feb. 28 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Sheri Madigan, Ph.D., from the University of Calgary in Canada, and colleagues provide a meta-analytic synthesis of studies to examine the prevalence of multiple forms of sexting behavior. Data were included from 39 studies with 110,380 participants aged younger than 18 years (mean age, 15.16 years).

The researchers found that the mean prevalence for sending sexts was 14.8 percent; for receiving sexts the mean prevalence was 27.4 percent. The effects sizes varied as a function of child age (increasing prevalence with age), year of data collection (increased prevalence over time), and method of sexting (higher prevalence on mobile devices versus computers). The prevalences of forwarding a sext without consent and having a sext forwarded without consent were 12.0 and 8.4 percent, respectively.

"The prevalence of sexting has increased in recent years and increases as youth age," the authors write. "Further research focusing on nonconsensual sexting is necessary to appropriately target and inform intervention, education, and policy efforts."

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