PUBLICATION - Sexting, pressured sexting and image-based sexual abuse among a weighted-sample of heterosexual and LGB-youth

(07-04-2021)

Research on the sexting experiences of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) youth is limited. Prior work often does not measure problematic forms of sexting, such as the unauthorized forwarding of sexting images. Furthermore, previous studies did typically not include contextual variables that could provide a better understanding of the behaviors. This study aims to address these critical gaps in the literature by including a wide variety of measures on sexting, including problematic forms of sexting. The study reports on the results of a weighted sample of 1306 LGB and heterosexual respondents (n = 647 boys; 49.5% boys; n = 659 girls; 50.5%) with an average age of 15 years old (M = 14.97; SD = 1.97) who completed a module on sexting as part of a larger survey on their media use. We compared the engagement in sexting between LGB and heterosexual respondents. The results show that LGB adolescents were more likely to have ever created, sent or received a sexting image than heterosexual adolescents. LGB participants were also more likely to have ever experienced pressure from someone else to send a sexting message. Girls had also more often experienced pressure to engage in sexting than boys. There were no significant differences for gender or sexual orientation for the forwarding or seeing forwarded sexting images. This study highlights that adolescent girls and LGB adolescents are at a higher risk to experience online sexual pressure. Sexting education should include components that discuss bystander behavior and how to cope with sexting pressure.

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Article by Joris Van Ouytsel, Michel Walrave, Lieven De Marez, Bart Vanhaelewyn, Koen Ponnet