Dec. 15, 2008
According to a recent survey published by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com, approximately 20% of teens (ages 13-19) and 33% of young adults (ages 20-26) have sent or posted pictures of themselves either nude or semi nude. If this statistic is not shocking enough, of the 1,280 survey participants, 39% of the teens surveyed said they have sent or posted suggestive messages, while 59% of all young adults have done the same thing.
The questions in the study were asked and categorized by the sex. When asked, "What do you think are the reasons that girls send/post sexy messages or pictures/video of themselves?," approximately 85% of teens and 80% of young adults agree that the main reason behind sending these sexy messages is to get or keep a guy's attention. Another popular response from both the teens and young adults was that it is a great way to get noticed.
However, when the question was asked of males, both teens and young adults surveyed said the main reason guys sent or posted sexy messages was to get or keep a girl's attention, only to be followed by guys wanting to be fun or flirtatious.
When asked how the teens and young adults described such activities, a majority of young adults said they viewed this as flirty, while others viewed this behavior as being stupid and dangerous. When asked about a characteristic that describes the people who resort to these messages, a majority said this behavior was flirty, while many felt this behavior was stupid, desperate, immature, and insecure.
Then, why do teens and young adults still feel compelled to post provocative messages online? Is it because they feel a need to be desired or wanted by the opposite sex?
In a society that seems to be driven by the line that says, "sex sells," this type of behavior can lead to many dangers. According to PC Magazine, online sex predators are gradually threatening the security of many teenagers through sites like Facebook and MySpace. If these sites are used properly, they can be safe places for networking. When posting semi-nude or nude pictures on these sites, a teenager is setting themselves up for potential risk of abduction, stalking, rapes, etc.
Additionally, employers and potential employers do look at this material, and the study indicates that many view this is as disgusting and disrespectful.
Let's get back to basics. Teenagers and young adults do not need to resort to such behavior when they have respect for themselves and hold high standards. When you are a teenager, you might have a concept about what true love is, but the concept is flawed due to the overwhelming emotions that you experience. Enjoy your time being a teenager! Adulthood comes fast enough. Be patient, love comes in due time with trust in God's plan for your lives.
Parents often recognize that their child participates in things online that they would not approve. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project survey, "65% of all parents and 64% of all teens say that teens do things online that they wouldn't want their parents to know about."
This is why parental involvement is so crucial and needed. Family Research Council has a wonderful publication available online that provides ways to keep your child from engaging in risky behaviors online.