Is Sexting Becoming the Norm for Adolescents?

Sylvia McCrory / 2020

Sexting is defined as “sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photographs, or images via cell phone, computer, or other digital devices” according to the American Medical Association. 

With the development of smartphones, and cameras built into computers, children are being drawn to experiment with their developing bodies, while others are being coerced into sending sexts. 

Awareness and education are important in helping to combat sexting. The preferred method of sexting are cell phones, although computers are also used. A study reported in an American Medical Association article Prevalence of Multiple Forms of Sexting Behavior Among Youth A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis dated April 2018 revealed children are misled into trusting apps on their phones to protect their privacy. Below is some of the information found in the article.


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Children do not have the maturity or understanding of the consequences of these actions. I encourage parents to discuss the following information with their children in detail, listening to their children’s comments. Some misconceptions may need to be explored more, but conversations need to take place and be repeated often.


  1. Anything posted is always there, even deleted items can be retrieved by knowledgeable people.
  2. Pictures, sexual messages or other sexual content is always at risk of being shared, even if you trust the person you are sending to. Pictures and images may be circulated on the internet, resulting in predators and pedophiles accessing them.
  3. Sexts are sometimes used to blackmail the sender. The person receiving the sexts could use these to pressure the sender to continue this activity for fear of sharing. 
  4. Sexting should never be done, but children need to understand this is not part of a romantic relationship.
  5. Youth senders of sexts are sometimes prosecuted under child pornography laws.
  6. Sexting often leads to other risky behaviors including sexual activity, drug, and alcohol use.
  7. Once “send” is pressed, the sext cannot be taken back. 
  8. Anxiety and depression are sometimes associated with sexting.

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