Sunday, January 25, 2009

The truth about teens and sexting

According to a recent press release from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and, one in five teen girls (22%)—and 11% of teen girls ages 13-16 years old—say they have electronically sent, or posted online, nude or semi-nude images of themselves. The survey reports that these racy images are also getting passed around: One-third (33%) of teen boys and one-quarter (25%) of teen girls say they have had nude/semi-nude images—originally meant to be private—shared with them.

The survey of 1,280 teens and young adults—conducted online by TRU, a global leader in research on teens and 20 somethings—indicates that 15% of teens who have sent sexually suggestive content such as text messages, email, photographs or video say they have done so with someone they only know online.

Teen girls are not the only ones sharing sexually explicit content. Almost one in five teen boys (18%) say they have sent or posted nude/semi nude images of themselves. One-third (33%) of young adults—36% of women and 31% of men ages 20-26—say they have sent or posted such images. What teens and young adults are doing electronically seems to have an effect on what they do in real life: Nearly one-quarter of teens (22%) admit that technology makes them personally more forward and aggressive. More than one-third of teens (38%) say exchanging sexy content makes dating or hooking up with others more likely and nearly one-third of teens (29%) believe those exchanging sexy content are “expected” to date or hook up.

“Teenagers are early adopters of technology—from the latest social networking sites to the hottest new cell phones,” says Susan Schulz, Special Projects Editor, Hearst Magazines. “While this tech savvy can be seen as a positive, our study reveals there's also a negative side. Teenagers should be aware of the real consequences to this type of behavior and we need to provide them with guidance and encourage them to make smart choices.”

“That so many young people say technology is encouraging an even more casual, hook-up culture is reason for concern, given the high rates of teen and unplanned pregnancy in the United States,” said Marisa Nightingale, Senior Advisor to the Entertainment Media Program at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “Parents should understand that their own notions of what’s public, what’s private, and what’s appropriate, may differ greatly from how
teens and young adults define these concepts.”

Other findings from the survey include:

• Sending sexually suggestive messages is even more prevalent than sending nude/semi-nude images. Nearly half of young people (49% total, 39% of teens, 59% of young adults) have sent sexually suggestive text messages or email messages to someone.

• Even more have received sexually suggestive messages: 48% of teens and 64% of young adults (56% total). Fully one-third of young teen girls (ages 13-16) have received sexually suggestive messages.

• Teen girls who have sent or posted sexually suggestive content provide a number of reasons why: Two-thirds (66%) say they did so to be “fun or flirtatious,” half (52%) did so as a “sexy present” for their boyfriend, and 40% as a “joke.”

• Even though nearly three-quarters of young people (73% total, 75% of teens, 71% of young adults) say that sending sexually suggestive content “can have serious negative consequences,” nearly one-quarter (22% total, 19% of teens and 26% of young adults) say sending sexually suggestive content is “no big deal.”

Please visit and for more information about the survey, tips for parents and teens, and other related materials.

Looks can be deceiving

Dear Mrs. Jones,
I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer. I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had, and then I found one more in the back room, and that several people were fighting over who would get it. Her picture doesn't show me dancing around a pole. It's supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot.

From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.

Mrs. Smith

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My latest gig: Interviewing celebrity moms

The documentary The Business of Being Born made such a positive impact on me that I immediately wanted to interview Ricki and Abby. So, I pitched a celebrity interview article to Pregnancy and Baby, and now have another gig.

Check out two recent interviews:

Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein

Gabby Reece

Know of any celebrity moms that fit the bill... send them my way.