This factsheet presents and critiques the findings of recent studies estimating the prevalence of youth “sexting.” The authors contend that research findings to date have been inconsistent and many widely‐publicized studies have been flawed in their design. It is difficult to compare findings and draw clear conclusions due to inconsistent terminology between studies and the inclusion of material not of primary concern to the public and law enforcement, such as text‐only messages, images of adults, or images of youth that do not constitute child pornography under legal statutes. These findings are then often reported in distorted or exaggerated ways by the media, leading to public misperception. The authors present a number of suggestions to future researchers and to journalists wishing to cite statistics on sexting.
Crimes against Children Research Center
Lounsbury, K., Mitchell, K.J., & Finkelhor, D. (April 2011). The True Prevalence of “Sexting”. Durham, NH: Crimes against Children Research Center.