It was blown out of proportion by the media. The actual percentage of teens who have sent sexually graphic texts is less than ten percent (depending on how you define graphic and sexual).
Sending of Sexual Images by Minors Not as Prevalent as Thought, Study Finds - NYTimes.com
The results of the study, published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics, are based on detailed telephone interviews with 1,560 children across the country. It is one of the largest surveys yet to look at the prevalence of sexting among minors, a phenomenon that has drawn concern from schools and law enforcement and that has prompted nationwide legislation trying to curb it.
An earlier, often-cited study had estimated that as many as one in five teenagers engaged in sexting, but it included 18- and 19-year-olds, most likely increasing the overall prevalence.
In recent years, high-profile cases in which teenagers were arrested for forwarding nude pictures of other minors have attracted nationwide attention. Despite sexting’s reputation as a teenage pastime, surveys now suggest that it is actually more common among young adults than children.
“It only takes one or two cases to make people think this is very prevalent behavior,” said Janis Wolak, an author of the new paper and a senior researcher at the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. “This has been reported as if it were something that everyone was doing, not just in the teen population, but in the young adult population. It’s really not the case.”