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Many adolescents use their electronic devices to send each other sexually explicit texts, photos, and videos of sext sluts known as sexting. This can be fun and is not usually problematic. However, if the intended recipient decides to share these sexts with a broader audience, the consequences for the depicted can be detrimental. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of non-consensual sext-sharing among Dutch adolescents and explore the characteristics of those who do, to gain a better understanding of factors involved in dissemination.
The prevalence of sext-sharing was estimated using Complex Samples. Logistic regressions were used to assess associations between demographics, school-based sexting education, sexual- and online behavior, and mental health and sext-sharing. Being male, aged 12—14 years, frequent social media usage, watching online porn, sexual experience, and being subjected to sext-sharing themselves associated most strongly with sext-sharing. Our findings show that the likelihood of sext-sharing is lower in older adolescents and that it associates with the extent of adolescents' sexual curiosity and online activity.
The overlap between sharing sexts of others and having one's own sext shared suggests that dissemination of personal sexual content might be normalized or used as an act of sext sluts. Further research could be helpful to explain the mechanisms underlying this overlap. The of this study illustrate the importance of exposing adolescents to evidence based preventive educational sext sluts on sexting from 12 years onwards and not just within the context of traditional school-based sex education, but also as a part of the online media-literacy curriculum. On average U. S teens spend over 7 h on their screens per day excluding homeworkof which 70 min are spent on social media platforms.
With a social life that increasingly takes place via the internet, it should come as no surprise that young people also use their electronic devices to explore their sexuality and send each other sexually explicit texts, photos, and videos of themselves—commonly referred to as sexting Lenhart, ; Mitchell et al. This rate doubled since De Graaf et al. Young people engage in sexting with platonic friends, casual flings and desired or established romantic partners to receive positive sext sluts of their physical appearance, have fun, express affection, or elicit sexual desire Anastassiou, Especially sexual minorities seem to rely on the internet for exploration of their sexuality and to meet romantic partners, as these prove more difficult for them to do in the physical domain Hillier et al.
Sexting is often labeled as a positive experience Naezer, ly, the public discourse about sexting predominantly emphasized the associated risks and recommendations for abstinence. In recent years there has been increasing consensus on a normalcy perspective. Despite a bill to change this 1 the Dutch laws that apply to sexting among minors do not yet discriminate between consensual sexting and non-consensual sexting.
Officially, all forms of sexting are still punishable for this age group, because legally it is not yet distinguished from child pornography article b sr, Penal Code. For adults, on January 1st a law was passed that makes sexting a punishable offense when it is done without consent or if the perpetrator could have known that sharing could be harmful for the person portrayed 23.
Sharing a sext with others beyond the dyadic relationship exposes the depicted to intolerable risks. Once a sext gets into circulation, dissemination can go fast Garcia et al. Despite the risks, sharing sexts with a wider audience is not uncommon. This is not necessarily done with malicious intent. It is likely that adolescents do not always grasp the serious nature of sharing received sexts with others Barrense-Dias et al.
Since an effective way to avoid unwanted exposure is to prevent sexts from being shared, it is important to understand the characteristics of those sharing sexts and conditions facilitating this behavior Walker and Sleath, ; Madigan et al.
Our review of the literature showed that until recently, primary sexting sending and receiving among adolescents has received the bulk of attention Barrense-Dias et al. However, attention for perpetrators is growing. Existing research for instance suggests that non-consensual sharing is more common among men, non-heterosexuals Barrense-Dias et al. To our knowledge there is no information available about non-consensual sexting among ethnic minority groups in countries with a comparably diverse population as the Netherlands.
We do know however, that Antillean adolescents, especially boys, are generally more involved in sending and receiving sexts than their peers De Graaf et al. Non-consensual sext-sharing can be considered sext sluts an act of bullying Finkelhor et al. Ojeda et al. Former studies sext sluts bullying found that the perpetrators more often have poorer mental health and that victims and perpetrators are not seldomly the same person Kowalski and Limber, There are indications that these associations also apply to non-consensual sext-sharing.
Barrense-Dias et al. Several studies describe an association between non-consensual sexting and other forms of sexual activity, although the link with porn consumption is inconsistent Clancy et al. However, Van Oosten and Vandenbosch demonstrated that porn consumption and a higher instrumental attitude i.
There is some evidence to suggest that online porn consumption is related to viewing women as sex objects Brown and L'Engle, ; Flood, ; Peter and Valkenburg,which could potentially lower inhibitions to share nude images with others. Vanden Abeele et al. Sexting is a social affair that often takes place through social network applications like Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Facebook. The available literature supports the notion that a higher involvement in sexting goes hand in hand with a higher smartphone usage and increased social engagement in general Baumgartner et al.
More specifically, associations were established between sexting and a higher internet use, excessive texting and a more frequent use of WhatsApp and Snapchat Rice et al. Lastly, our literature review demonstrated that both in the Netherlands and internationally, there is a wide range of school-based interventions aimed at preventing online sexual violence, including unwanted sext sharing. Many of these programs center around sexting abstinence and the use of fear appeals about the risks, to discourage sexting altogether Oosterwijk and Fischer, ; Finkelhor et al.
It is further argued that strongly promoting abstinence from sexting as the sole solution to prevent dissemination might contribute to victim-blaming. It could involuntarily convey the notion that it is foolish to exchange sexts and therefore someone's own fault when their sext is shared with sext sluts broader audience Setty, The only study that we could find that examined the relationship between sext-sharing and sexting prevention education, found that those who had received lessons about sext-sharing, were slightly more likely to have shared sexts.
This might suggest that sexting is sometimes discussed in response to an incident Johnson et al. We included known correlates of non-consensual sexting from earlier studies and looked at the relationship between sext-sharing and socio-demographic characteristics gender, age, ethnic background, urbanity, and sexual orientation ; school based education about sexting; online behavior social media usage, dating apps ; sexual activity watching online porn, experience with partner sex ; victimization of non-consensual sexting unwanted exposure to sexts, having your own sext shared and mental health.
Our findings will be useful to identify directions for follow-up research and ultimately contribute to the development of evidence-based interventions sext sluts prevent sext-sharing. Given earlier findings as discussed above, we expected that adolescents who are male, older, have a gay-bisexual orientation, show more online activity, are sext sluts sexually active, have been victims of non-consensual sexting themselves and have poorer mental health are more likely to share-sexts.
Despite the existing doubts about the effectiveness of present educational programs on sexting, the basic assumption remains that these programs should reduce the risks of sexting. Therefore, we also expected that having received education about sexting would show a lower likelihood of sharing sexts.
Participants were recruited by means of high schools and the Dutch population register. Respondents aged 12—16 years were recruited from the first four grades of selected high schools. To create a representative sample that reflected the geographical and educational distribution of young people in the Netherlands, we stratified all Dutch secondary schools by geographic region and educational level.
From those strata we invited a random selection of schools to participate. For every school that refused to participate a substitute school was recruited from the same stratum. The sample of 17—year-olds was drawn from the population register by Statistics Netherlands. We approached this age group with a postal letter, and two reminders, inviting them to fill out an online questionnaire.
To for the anticipated lower response rate among adolescents with a non-Western background, this group was oversampled Ahlmark et al. In total, 4, adolescents aged 12—16 years filled out our questionnaire. Of the 92, 17—year-olds that were invited to fill out the online survey, 17, Respondents were also excluded if a parent had filled in the questionnaire or if they did not speak Dutch. The remaining analytical sample consisted of 20, respondents; comprising 4, respondents of 12—16 years old and 15, respondents of 17—24 years old.
To adjust for selective non-response and overrepresentation of certain regions, the data were weighted for geographical location, gender, age and educational level. Further details about recruitment and the sample can be found elsewhere De Graaf et al.
Of the 20, potential respondents, no data were missing on the outcome measure. In the multivariate analyses, participants with missing data on one or more variables were excluded. Table 1. Sample characteristics of 20, adolescents in the Netherlands in and the weighted prevalence of sext-sharing. The questionnaire commenced with several sociodemographic characteristics such as gender, age, educational level, and ethnic background followed by a broad range of topics like relational involvement, sexual experiences, online behavior and mental health, with tailored questions according to answers.
We will now further describe the variables we used in this study, starting with the outcome measure.
Sexual orientation. School-based sext sluts education. Respondents were asked to rate the amount of information they had received in school about several subjects. Time spent on social media. Using dating apps. Dating app usage was measured by letting respondents indicate which of the listed dating apps Tinder, Happn, Grindr, Badoo, Hot or not, Inner Circle; another dating app, namely… they had ever used. Watching online porn. Experience with partner sex.
Unwanted exposure to sexts. A composite variable was created to determine whether a respondent had been exposed to sexually explicit images, videos or video-chats and disliked it. For this variable we used a combination of variables measuring whether within the last 6 months the respondent had 1. Having one's own sext shared. To identify respondents who experienced having their own sext shared, a composite variable was created. This variable combined two variables measuring whether within the last 6 months the respondent had experienced that someone had 1.
Mental health. We included the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale as an overall measure for mental health; its properties are described elsewhere Kessler et al. We used the Complex Samples module to generate the weighted prevalence of recent sext-sharing by subgroups Table 1.
Further, we performed multivariable logistic regression analyses for which we used unweighted data but included variables that were used for the weighting factor as independent variables in our models Table 2. This is the preferred approach when sample weights are not a function of the dependent variable in the model Winship and Radbill,Sext sluts
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