News

'Sexting' the new norm

A NATIONAL survey of high school students shows sending and receiving sexually explicit messages has become a common part of teenage courtship.

But local authorities remain concerned that teenagers were unaware of the long-term consequences of their impulsive actions including the fact that it was illegal to send sexually explicit images.

A La Trobe University study involving more than 2000 students aged 16 to 18 revealed that 54% of them had received a sexually explicit text message or "sext" and 26% reported having sent a sexually explicit photo of themselves.

That number rose among sexually active students, with 84% reported to have received a sext message and 72% having sent one.

The term "sexting" was created a few years ago - combining the words sex and text - and describes the use of technology to share personal sexual content.

CQUniversity sexuality researcher Catherine O'Mullan said the levels were concerning but not surprising given the highly sexualised culture young people were exposed to.

"Young people are exposed to increasing amounts of hyper-sexualised images, for example, and then they are sold the idea that they need to look 'sexy' and 'hot'," she said.

"(There are) no easy solutions but certainly parents and schools have a key role to play in supporting young people to cope with and contextualise sexualised images and messages."

Kepnock High School principal Jenny Maier said schools could not afford to ignore the problem.

"We know just how attached young people are to their mobile phones and there is no denying that there are inappropriate uses of those devices," she said.

"Part of the education of our students is how to use social networking devices in a responsible manner.

"It is embedded in programs that we run such as Positive Experiences at Kepnock, which is our social and wellbeing program."

Bundaberg Police Detective Sergeant Cameron Schneider said it was important young people were made aware of the legal implications of sexting.

"If you are under 16 years of age and someone either produces, distributes or possesses (sexual images), they open themselves up to criminal prosecution," he said.

"If you are over 16, there is also another offence called Breach of Privacy."

Other stats

  • 50% of young people expressed significant dissatisfaction with sex education at schools
  • 86% of teenagers said the last time they'd had sex they'd used a condom if one was available
  • 23% of sexually active students had sex with three or more people in the past year
  • 25% of sexually active students reported an experience of unwanted sex of some kind

Topics:  editors picks, sexting, teenagers




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'All I heard when my baby cried was ‘you’re a terrible mum'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images of Katie Dykes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

KATIE'S battle with PND is not unlike many mothers.

'I just thought all mums got no sleep'

MELTOPIA battled PND with all four of her children.

4 survival tips for mummas heading back to work

The few reminders every working mum needs to read.

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

Minister celebrates QBPF anniversary

ELECTION TIME: Leanne Donaldson of the Labor Party is running for the State Government seat of Bundaberg. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail

Donaldson marks 50 years of fisheries

Get behind NAIDOC Week: Mayor

Whitney Nixon, 11,  from  Lismore Public School perform at Naidoc celebrations at the Lismore showground.

NAIDOC Week starts on Sunday

What you can do to stay healthy in winter

Stay healthy in winter.

Eat well and feel good in winter months.

Latest deals and offers

PCYC Performing for Nanning Delegates

GARDEN PERFORMANCE: Nanning delegates talk to PCYC Blazers coordinator Trevor Standfast at the Botanical Gardens Bundaberg. Photo: Paul Donaldson / NewsMail

A short video of the PCYC Blazers performing their Lion Dancing for the Nanning...

Bundaberg Regional Budget

BUDGET PLAN: Council released the regional budget today at the Bundaberg Council Chambers. Photo: Paul Donaldson / NewsMail

Mayor Jack Dempsey talks about the budget for the Bundaberg Region.

Clive Palmer to re-open refinery

Clive Palmer on ABC radio.

Clive Palmer talks about his achievements, election chances and re-opening the...

Burnett Heads housing development approved

COUNCIL APPROVED: A Burnett Heads housing development has been approved by Bundaberg Regional Council. Photo Contributed

Councillors approved the development seven votes to four

Three bedroom, 1100sqm block: Is this Qld's cheapest home?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward