Sexting has been adopted by people of all ages. The most concerning part of this for parents is the fact that it has greatly affected teens and the ways in which they communicate. Reuters reports that at least 1 in 4 teens is receiving this kind of content in their DMs and emails, while 1 in 7 are active participants.
A study titled Sexting in Youth: Cause for Concern? posits that this is a phenomenon that shouldn’t worry parents, since it’s a common and normal part of growing up. Sending nudes and messages with sexual content can be part of healthy sexual exploration. As technology continues to grow, it’ll become a rite of passage.
“[Adolescents’] exploration of their sexual identity is not only normal, but a developmental and biological imperative,” explained lead author Jeff R. Temple to The New York Post. The study takes the stance of educators who are becoming more and more convinced that preaching abstinence is the worst form of educating children. These people prefer to teach them about the appropriate and smart way of engaging in these behaviors.
“One of the basic rules I always talk about is know your angles — and I don’t mean figure out which way you’re going to look best,” says sex educator Cassandra Corrado. She educates students, mostly college freshmen, and explains them that they should take photos against backgrounds that are neutral, and that they should cover up birth marks, freckles and tattoos.
Other educators who teach younger students are trying to deepen this conversation and think critically about sexting, teaching them technological tips that could protect them in awkward situations, such as protecting their devices with passwords and avoiding storing their images in the cloud.
While there are some adults who believe that sexting should be treated from the legal angle, emphasizing on the dangers of child pornography, this growing perspective on teen sexuality is one that will surely educate many and reduce the dangers of spreading nudes.