According to Utah school and police officials, sexting is so widespread that many teens just accept it as commonplace for today's generation of high schoolers. To some it's flirting. And to others, it's just what their generation does. But what many high school students are shocked to discover is that sending a nude selfie to another person can also be a felony crime.
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Media Contacts October 8, — A new study from the University of Utah confirms that substantial numbers of teens are sexting — sending and receiving explicit sexual images via cellphone. Though the behavior is widely studied, the potentially serious consequences of the practice led the researchers to more accurately measure how frequently teens are choosing to put themselves at risk in this fashion. The study surveyed 1, undergraduate students about their experiences sexting in high school. Nearly 20 percent reported they had sent a nude photo of themselves to another via cellphone and 38 percent had received such a picture. Of the number who had received a sext, nearly one in five had forwarded the picture to someone else. This behavior continues, despite the potentially serious consequences that can occur when sexting goes wrong. How the study was conducted The research, published online in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, was conducted at the University of Utah over a three-year period.
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Sometimes the photos end up in everyone's hands, via the Internet. Authorities trying to identify youngsters in naked photos are increasingly discovering that the teens themselves took the shots, said John Shehan, a director at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. School administrators in Santa Fe, Texas, confiscated dozens of cell phones from students in May after nude photos of two junior high girls began circulating. The girls had sent the photos to their boyfriends, who forwarded them to others, officials said. In La Crosse, Wisconsin, a year-old boy recently was charged with child pornography, sexual exploitation of a child and defamation for allegedly posting nude photos of his year-old ex-girlfriend on his MySpace page.