Jiminy is a parenting app, helping parents keep their children’s phones safe.
To better understand the extent of sexting among children, Jiminy analyzed over 54,000,000 text messages and 1.5 million hours of phone usage from phones protected by Jiminy, over the course of nine months. This is what we discovered:
1 in 7 (14.8%) of children owning a smartphone sent or received a sexual message by age 10
Nearly 60% of all sexting is mutual, between the ages of 10 and 17
37.2% of children, by age 13, had some experience with either incoming, outgoing, or mutual sexting
What’s going on with sexting?
Sexting takes highly different forms. At younger ages, children may play truth-and-dare games, which become more risqué the more they advance. Among older kids, sexting will include descriptions of sexual activity. Those chats may occur between kids who know each other, with unknown individuals met on the web, or in public forums shared by many anonymous users.
How Common is Sexting?
Sexting is a Problem for Both Genders, but Starts Sooner for Girls
Sexting is Mostly Mutual
Requests for Nudes Start Early
As part of the chats, kids may ask each other to send explicit pictures or videos. Requests for pictures and videos reach their height in mid-adolescence when one in three children owning smartphones will be involved in such discussions. Girls tend to have more such discussions, both in the preteen years and in their later adolescence.
The Risks of Sexting
Teens have always been drawn to sexual exploration. Since the advent of the smartphone, sexting has become a common means of carrying it forth. However, unlike the adult magazine or video of previous generations, sexting carries a unique set of risks. Sexting forces the minor to be an active participant, rather than a passive observer. Sexting involves interactions with other people, including strangers, whose access to the child can cause much harm. And finally, unlike other forms of pornography, sexting leaves a mark, typically in the form of words, pictures, and videos. These traces can follow the minor for years to come.
Researching Sexting by Minors
While it may not come as a surprise that kids partake in sexting, its frequency and nature have largely remained opaque.
Most teens will not share details of their sexual explorations with adults and most parents will remain oblivious to what might be happening with their kids. Moreover, children are very unlikely to self-report about sexting. Jiminy is an app that facilitates open discussion about online safety between parents and their kids by sending adults general information about their kids’ phone usage. By alerting parents of problematic patterns and toxic behaviors, they can then have time to come up with an effective and appropriate response. Over the past two years, Jiminy has collected a data sample of over 1.5 million chats. Using this data, Jiminy is in a unique position to discuss the state of sexting over the next decade.
Directional Patterns of Sexting
For the purpose of this report, Jiminy identified the following distinct directional patterns among kids:
Exploration in couples: Couples who engage in sexting and know each other in real life.
Exploration outside of a relationship: A minor who repeatedly engages in sexting with anonymous strangers.
Propositioning: A minor who sends sexual messages to numerous others without receiving many responses.
Stalking: A minor who sends numerous messages to another person who does not respond.
What Every Parent should Know
Sexting is quickly becoming a normative form of sexual exploration among preteens and teens. As such, parents should expect the real possibility that their children may be approached by others, known or unknown, or approach others in a sexually explicit manner.
This behavior may carry risks but does not necessarily lead to harm, as teens may begin sexting at later ages, choose their partners wisely, engage only in behaviors for which they are ready, and take active measures to keep their information confidential.
It is our recommendation that due to the ubiquity of sexting, parents should stay informed and actively talk with their children about it, and do so at an earlier age than they imagine they should.
Jiminy is an AI-powered parenting app, helping parents navigate their child’s digital life, ensuring they are safe and secure online. Jiminy prioritizes protecting children by alerting parents of problematic patterns and toxic behaviors in their children’s phone usage, messaging, and browsing, and then provides parents with strategies on how to navigate these challenges.
To find out more, visit www.jiminy.me
For a PDF version of the full report, click here.
Read more about the report in the media:
Fox Business – Sexting study shows kids starting before they even turn 13
The New Your Post – Over 40% of kids are exposed to sexting by age 14, survey finds
The Telegraph – One in seven eight-year-old girls with a smartphone have received sexually explicit text messages, study finds
Fox13 – Study: Sexting common among kids as young as 10
Parentology.com – STUDY: SEXTING AWARENESS SHOULD START EARLY
The Florida Post – One in seven eight-year-old girls with a smartphone have received sexually explicit text messages, study finds
This report is Copyright © 2019 by Jiminy Advanced Parenting Solutions