Sexting and teenagers: 40% send messages of sexual nature

Sexting and teenagers: 40% send messages of sexual nature

More than 40% of Italian youth between the ages of 12 to 17, send or receive, through the internet, messages, images or videos, with explicit sexual reference unbeknownst to their parents.

Save the Children recently published a report drafted by the agency IPSOS in view of Safer Internet Day Study 2015 edition. Their objective was to measure the levels of knowledge of the digital environment among Italian teenagers.

The survey, carried out on a representative sample of Italian youth between 12 to 17, revealed that the vast majority were tapped into the main social networks, using them to keep in touch with friends and acquaintances.

Through these social networks, one of the most common behaviors discovered is to send (44%) and receive (40%) messages of a sexual nature. Another recurring behavior, although relatively less common, is to send videos or images to an adult depicting oneself in an “improper way”m(20%), sometimes in an exchange for gifts (19%).

Simultaneously, the perception of danger has declined, both online and offline. Those most concerned about possible risks (bulling and harassment) are boys between 12 and 13 (70% in respect to the 64% interviewed). Girls, on the other hand, generally feel more threatened by adult molestation or aggression (42% in respect to 36% total).

In addition, 23% of the kids interviewed stated they did not think much about the content they publish in chat rooms with strangers. Other common occurrences among the youth were: to meet someone in person that they had met online (33% admitted doing it, discovering later on that one out of ten times that the person which they met was not the person pretended to be), send personal information in group conversations with unknown members (33%), send messages, videos and images with explicit sexual reference (19%).

How many parents control their children’s online activity? Are they aware of the risks presented online? Data on the topic is scarce at the moment, but from an EU research relaunched by the Italian federation of scientific sexology (Fiss) it appeared that only 15% of Italian parents with kids who have experienced sexting (the practice of exchanging messages with explicit sexual references) are aware of it. In the rest of Europe the situation varies: France (20%), England, Holland (25%) and Spain (29%).

Reproduced, with kind permission, from