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Teens and Sexting

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This week, authorities reported that they are investigating more than 100 central Virginia teens for sexting—they have shared nude or semi-nude pictures on Instagram. Sexting among teens is not new, of course—a 2009 Pew Research study established that teens are sexting as a regular part of their online behavior. Image-based social networking platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, which teens are using in greater numbers to escape parental supervision on Facebook, are the logical places to share these pictures. Teens don’t see sexting as a big deal, and often engage in the behavior without an understanding of the possible consequences, which can range from prosecution as a sex offender to providing cyberbullies with endless fodder for sexual shame.

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