A survey of 1,280 teenagers (users age 13-19) and young adults (age 20-26) conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com has revealed that one out of five (20 percent) teens overall have posted nude photos or video of themselves on the Internet—that number goes up to a third when young adults are included. While 71 percent of teen girls and 67 percent of teen guys who have sent these photos say they’ve sent them to a boyfriend or girlfriend, 15 percent overall said they’ve sent nude photos to people they only “knew” online. For women, that percentage stays the same when they turn into young adults, although the percentage of young adult men goes up to 23 percent.
This is, of course, despite the fact that almost three quarters of all teens and young adults surveyed say that sending sexually-suggestive content “can have serious negative consequences.” Clearly, this is an issue of “do as I say, not as I do.” And don’t for a minute think that your sexy recipient is necessarily keeping your photos private—a quarter of teen girls and a third of teen boys said that they’ve had nude images originally meant for someone else shared with them. Perhaps unsurprisingly (to me, anyway), that number stays about the same for young adult women, but 40 percent of young adult men say they’ve had images meant for someone else shared with them. Nothing, especially on the Internet, is sacred.