Sexting: A New Generation of Sexual Exploitation?
The reality that more teens are sexting than ever before isn’t exactly news, but experts and articles are suggesting a new dangerous angle to teens and sexting – the fact that the behavior may be contributing to thought patterns among a new generation of males who may be more likely to sexually exploit or use women as they become adults.
A recent article quotes Pat Craven, representing a non-profit organization for sexual abuse called Freedom Programme, in stating that sexting may be teaching younger males a false reality that it’s OK to abuse girls sexually or to exploit sexual images of them.Craven also mentions in the article that studies indicate girls as young as age 12 have been bullied or manipulated into sending or receiving sexual images via cell phones, and becoming increasingly viewed as objects for sex among teen males. Over time, experts fear, young girls will also come to view themselves as physical objects for sex.
The use of sexting photos for bullying or blackmail may be higher in schools than many people realize, and in many more areas than people acknowledge, says Craven. Additional impacts of the behavior are that teens are more sexually knowledgeable and more sexually active at ages much younger than previous generations, and certainly at younger ages than their parents. In one study, for example, nearly half of girls at age 14 or 15 who participated didn’t see the harm in sexting a photograph of themselves without a shirt.
Also alarming is a study result that nearly one-third of teen girls who have gotten a sexual photo or text message on their phone were completely unacquainted with the sender. These photos, warn experts, can easily be acquired by sexual predators or used as blackmail to coerce girls into sexual acts. They also note that parents may be severely unaware of their teens’ sexting behaviors or the dangers involved.