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Sexting Part I: Introduction to Sexting Study

Sexting…Is It All About Power?

Susan Lipkins, Phd., Jaclyn M. Levy, and Barbara Jerabkova, MSc.

We conducted an online psychological survey that investigated sexting behaviors and power. We found that 66% of the group sexted. A description of the study is presented here and the complete results and recommendations are presented in Part II.

Sexting is an important topic because it is a risky behavior that may endanger lives. However, it is also a widespread phenomenon that is prevalent among people between the ages of 13-26; namely those who have grown up with digital technology.

Sexting is a word that combines text messaging and sex.

Description of Study

An online portal was created and 323 anonymous volunteers completed a psychological test known as the “power profile” and a survey on sexting experiences and attitudes. 225 women and 92 men, aged 13-72 completed the survey in Feb. and March 2009. The hypothesis of this study was that sexting was a way to increase one’s social status and that the drive to do so could be measured by one’s power score.

[Power Profile – PsychTests.com – online personality assessment]

What is Sexting?

In this study, the definition used was: Sexting is defined as sending provocative personal pictures or video, taken of oneself, alone or by a friend, to a boyfriend/girlfriend. Such images may be:

* sexually suggestive
* semi-nude or nude
* intimate body parts

but they do NOT include spam or sexy images of people you do not know personally. Sexting refers to pictures, video and video chats sent to or from a computer or cell phone; and/or are posted in an online scrapbook or a social networking site such as facebook or myspace.

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