Sexting prevalent among teens, could contribute to digital datin - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Sexting prevalent among teens, could contribute to digital dating abuse


Teens are digital natives.  They've never known life without cell phones or the Internet.  For them, engaging in online and digital dating is a normal, every day thing.

"So, when we are talking about participating in sexting it is something that they are seeing as a norm," said Melissa McClain with Akron Children's Hospital.

While the word itself was only added to the dictionary this summer, sexting has been around for a number of years and it's becoming more prevalent among adults and teens.  According to a study in JAMA Pediatrics, more than a quarter of all teens have sent a nude photo of themselves and roughly half of all teens have been asked to send a racy photo.

"It can get very serious if a young person is feeling pressured to send a picture of themselves because now they are at a place where maybe their partner is saying, 'Well, if you don't I have these three other people that will send me a picture and I don't need to waste my time with you.'. And, that now has moved into an abusive measure," said McClain.

The pressure to send nude photos isn't the only type of abuse. In fact, digital dating abuse is when a person uses a cell phone or the Internet to name call, manipulate, stalk, harass or intimidate their significant other.

"Here is another way someone who is a victim, here is another way that they can be harassed," said Malinda Gavins with Compass Family and Community Services.

"Now that there is access to cell phones 24 hours a day, it can be difficult for a young person to feel like they have a sanctuary from that abuse," said McClain.

Even when people aren't pressured into sending personal images, the pictures later can be used against them if the relationship goes south.  Some people's most personal photos have been posted on websites dedicated to getting revenge on a exes.

"You need to be careful what you transmit even if it's verbal, pictures because once you press that send button it is totally out of your control," said Gavins.

If your children have cell phones, don't assume they're sexting.  Give them reasons not to sext and tell them it's illegal in most states.
If you fall victim to digital dating abuse, save your messages. They can be used in court.  Experts warn digital dating abuse can be a precursor to physical abuse.

  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • As US economy accelerates, Fed remains cautious

    As US economy accelerates, Fed remains cautious

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:39 AM EDT2014-07-31 11:39:42 GMT
    After a dismal winter, the U.S. economy sprang back to life in the April-June quarter, growing at a fast 4 percent annual rate on the strength of higher consumer and business spending.More >>
    After a grim start to 2014, the U.S. economy has rebounded with vigor and should show renewed strength into next year.More >>
  • Deadly Israeli strikes hit UN school, market area

    Deadly Israeli strikes hit UN school, market area

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 8:26 PM EDT2014-07-31 00:26:47 GMT
    A Palestinian health official says 13 people were killed after tank shells hit a U.N. school in Gaza where hundreds of Palestinians had taken refuge from Israeli attacks.More >>
    Israeli artillery shells tore through the walls of a U.N. school crowded with sleeping war refugees and back-to-back explosions rocked a market filled with shoppers Wednesday as Israel's stepped up campaign against...More >>
  • Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

    Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:49 PM EDT2014-07-30 23:49:43 GMT
    Republicans are ready to muscle legislation through the House authorizing an election-year lawsuit against President Barack Obama that accuses him of exceeding his powers in enforcing his health care law.More >>
    A sharply divided House approved a Republican plan Wednesday to launch a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Obama and other...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms