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Studies show that stats about sexting may be inflated- “fuzzy math” to blame

Last week I posted on the sexting “epidemic” among U.S. teens, citing a statistic that one of five teenagers have shared nude pictures of themselves via cell phone or online. Now, reports are surfacing that show that those alarming statistics are inflated.

The Wall Street Journal reports claim that statistic, which was generated by CosmoGirl.com and The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, may be exaggerated because the same teenagers who have engaged in such behavior could be the ones most likely to say they have done so in an online poll. In other words, the sample was skewed towards those likely to be on the internet to begin with. Sources say that cohort might two to four times more likely to send nude photos of themselves than the average teen. The criticism of the study is that it didn’t poll teens by phone or by mail, which would make the group sampled more representative of the population.

So what’s the reality of teens and texting? Probably something probably less than the one in five statistic, but it may be nearly impossible to get information from teens by any other means but the internet. The chance that Janie or Johnnie will respond to a phone call on Mom and Dad’s landline regarding posting nude pictures of themselves on the web seems unlikely.

Regardless of what the statistics say, teens caught texting are being charged by prosecutor offices across the U.S. for crimes ranging from indecent exposure to child pornography. If your child has been charged in the Orange County Juvenile system, please contact me for a consultation at (714) 834-1400.