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A Warning About Teen Sexting

It’s prevalent, and it isn’t private

Mar. 11, 2009
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Teens should think twice about sending suggestive or intimate text messages or photos to their boyfriend or girlfriend. While teens may think that they’re just flirting with their partner, they aren’t. A new survey found that: 

  • One in five teens have sent nude or semi-nude pictures or videos of themselves
  • Almost 40% of all teens say that it’s common for nude or semi-nude photos to be shared with people other than the intended recipient
  • Up to 50% of all teens say that sexually suggestive text messages are shared with others

What’s more, the survey on teen sex and cyberspace, conducted by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com, found that 75% of teens who engage in “sexting” say that it can have “serious negative consequences”—yet they do it anyway.

“The teenage mind is a different one,” said Nicole Angresano, vice president of community impact at United Way of Greater Milwaukee. “It’s more impulsive than an adult’s mind.”

United Way and SERVE Marketing have developed a new public awareness campaign to help teens understand the consequences of sexting. The public service announcements will be posted on bus shelters near high schools.

“This is part of a bigger picture,” Angresano said. “For many years, Milwaukee has had one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country. This is part of United Way’s effort to reduce that.”

Angresano urged parents to talk about the negative impacts of sexting, and its link to sexual behavior among young teens. More information about “Think Before you Text” can be found at www.babycanwait.com.

What’s your take? Write: editor@shepex.com or comment on this story online at www.expressmilwaukee.com.


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