Teens share risky photos online

Finally! Researchers are starting to catch on to what teens are doing online! The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy released its findings on the sharing of photos online and reveal that 22 percent of all teen girls say they have electronically sent, or posted online, nude or semi-nude images of themselves.

Although not surprising, this next statistic is the one that should make teens think: One-third of teen boys and one-quarter of teen girls say they have had nude/semi-nude images — originally meant to be private — shared with them. The message? If you send it out, others will see it — and you can’t control who those others are.

It’s hard for a teen to imagine that their situation is just like any other. They want to believe that they can trust their friends and/or partners to not pass on things meant for their eyes only. But the reality is, is that teens like to be a part of things — and those things sometimes include gossip and what they consider “fun.” Just as a teen may be all-too-quick to think it’s a good idea to flash for the camera, another teen sees only the good in passing that photo onto others as they hastily hit the “forward” button.

Yet another call for electronic media literacy.

You can read the full report Sex and Tech here. But you can bet I will be spending more time talking about the results soon!

Update on Me

The fabulous sexuality educator Karen Rayne interviewed me for a piece about YouTube and what parents need to know. I am linking to it here, but promise that I will be updating my own blog in the near future!

Meanwhile, I have been doing a lot in the world of teens and sexuality! I recently spoke at a Teen Night hosted by OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) — the topic was, of course, about teens online! We had a great group of young people and we mostly chatted about the best ways to educate their peers about the potential dangers of online. We talked quite a bit about child pornography laws and most of what I said was news to them! They told me it was very important that people their age learn about the laws related to sending naked pictures of themselves, because even though it might be a “dumb idea” it still happens.

I am also in the throes of planning the wonderful Adolescent Sexuality Conference in Seaside, OR! There will be some presentations that address technology, and others that speak more broadly to teen sexuality. Save the dates — April 6-7, 2009.