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Peer Pressure May Be Strong Influence on Sexting Behaviors

Teens sext because their friends do, and may put on the pressure, says a CBS article. As methods for sexting increase, a primary way to help teens avoid becoming involved in sexting remains the same – through targeted, in-depth conversation about the dangers of sexting.

While it’s long been known that there’s a connection between drinking and using illegal drugs and peer pressure, new research says teens are also being influenced by peers to get involved in sexting.

As sexting continues to make headlines, with stories surrounding Tony Parker, Anthony Weiner and Tiger Woods, researchers are examining more closely why people sext and what consequences it may involve.

In Australia at the University of Melbourne, a study concluded that young adults in the 15-20 age group felt pressure to sext, linked in part to sexual images in the media. Teen boys may also begin sexting in order to "collect" sexual images of girls on their phone or other devices, in order to avoid being shut off from their friend groups. Both boys and girls said they felt pressure to send a sexual image if they had received one from someone, and some girls in the study said they felt some degree of pressure to sext because girls in their peer group had already become involved in it.

Researcher Shelley Walker said that talking about sexting is still a powerful tool for helping teens avoid the impact of sexting, such as bullying, pressure to perform sexual acts and widespread circulation of their sexual photos on the Internet.

There is still hope.

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