Sexting is “the sending or receiving of sexually-explicit or sexually-suggestive images or video via a cell phone.” Most commonly, the term has been used to describe incidents where teenagers take nude or semi-nude (e.g., topless) pictures of themselves and distribute those pictures to others using their cell phones. The images are often initially sent to romantic partners or interests but find their way into the hands of others, which ultimately is what creates major problems. We provide examples and share stories about this trend, and discuss why youth participate in it from a emotional, psychological, and developmental perspective. We also then discuss the latest research findings and cover the legal and criminal issues that are implicated. In addition, we cover the realities of sextortion, sexploitation, and revenge porn – and how someone may unwittingly or intentionally contribute to their own victimization. Finally, we share in detailing what schools and families can do to prevent and respond to these types of incidents.
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