Sexting High Among Black, Hispanic Teens; Experts Disagree on Impact

Suzanne Choney, NBC News, March 1, 2013

More than 20 percent of black and Hispanic teens say they have used their cellphones to send a “sext” message showing a nude or semi-nude photo or video of themselves to another person, and more than 30 percent say they have received such sext messages, according to a new study.

The research was done by University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Health Services. Why the focus on the two groups?

“Although sexting among U.S. youth has received much popular media attention, there are only limited data on its prevalence among ethnic minority youth,” say the researchers in their study, published online journal, Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking.

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In the university study, the results “indicate that sexting is prevalent among ethnic minority youth,” the researchers said.

And while the authors acknowledge that more research is needed to understand the context and circumstances of that sexting, “the first step in any public health inquiry is to understand the scope and prevalence of a potential health problem. Some data exist on the prevalence of sexting among youth in general. However, prevalence data for ethnic minority youth specifically are scarce.”

The researchers’ data is based on findings from 1,034 tenth-graders from a “large, urban school district in southeast Texas.”

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