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Boys, Flirting, and Sexting

July 12, 2011 at 1:12 PM

teens sexting study

Most of the time, when we talk about sexting (the act of sending nude or suggestive photos of yourself via cell phone) we focus on the harm it does to our girls. Of course I’m concerned about the risks of our girls posing for racy photos and distributing them – especially in high school – but what about our boys? Boys sext, too, almost as much as girls do.

Why do boys sext? A lot of reasons: peer pressure, to be funny or gross, or as a form of flirting. In fact, boys seem particularly likely to flirt by sexting.

A study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy says that 71% of girls who sexted and 67% of boys who sexted sent it to a boyfriend or girlfriend, while 21% of girls and 39% of boys say they sent it to someone they wanted to date.

I think it’s significant that boys were slightly less likely than girls to sext a significant other, but almost twice as likely to someone they simply wanted to impress in the hopes of getting a date. In other words, they were using sexting to flirt. 

In a world where teens are likely to feel that sexting is not much more than a harmless flirtation, the subject needs to be addressed. What do your boys think? Do they understand the possible consequences of sending a spur-of-the-moment sext? Moms may want to take a 5-minute breather here – this is probably one conversation that’s best handled by a father or other male role model.

Article contributed by Jenny Evans                                

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Tim Woda

Written by Tim Woda

Tim Woda is an Internet safety expert, and a passionate advocate for empowering families and protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers. Woda was on the founding team of buySAFE, an Internet trust and safety company, and he started working on child safety issues after his son was targeted by a child predator online. While his son was unharmed, the incident led Woda to kick-start You can follow Tim on Twitter or on his blog.

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