Young people are sexting - but girls are judged more harshly than boys, study finds

Researchers at the University of Michigan found that teenage girls were criticised whether they sent explicit images or not

Whether their parents want to believe it or not, teenagers are sexting – but the potential repercussions are worse for girls than boys, according to a new study.

Researchers Julia Lippman and Scott Campbell, from the University of Michigan, found that girls were no more likely than boys to send and receive explicit images on their smartphones, but girls were commonly judged harshly, whereas boys were virtually immune from criticism.

Published in the Journal of Children and Media under the title “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t… if you’re a girl: Relational and normative contest of adolescent sexting in the United States”, the study found that girls were denigrated as “sluts” or "insecure” if they sexted and “prudes” or “stuck up” if they didn’t.

Open-ended questionnaires were distributed to 51 teenagers – 26 males and 25 females - aged between 12 and 18 in three US cities. Questions included: “Have you ever sent or received a picture or video on your phone that involves nudity, also sometimes called 'sexting'?”; and “Did you think the image(s) or video(s) was/were 'over the line,' or no big deal?”

The researchers found that negative judgments about young women sexting came mainly from male participants in the study – although some girls also judged their female peers harshly.

One young man responded: “This is common only for girls with 'slut' reputations. They do it to attract attention... [it’s inappropriate, but] it’s the fault of the girl who sent them. That she is being seen like that.”

And another wrote: “[They] do not really [sext] because most of the girls at my school are stuck up.”

However, the girls’ own explanations as to why they sexted revealed that they were often acting under the influence of peer pressure.

One girl wrote: “My boyfriend or someone I really liked asked for them. And I felt like if I didn’t do it, they wouldn’t continue to talk to me.”

And another responded: “Guys ask for them and if we don’t send them they will think we aren’t outgoing and get mad.”

The study, which also found that sexting was most common among older teenagers, concluded: “Whereas boys’ sexting practices were largely unremarked upon, girls were reduced to negative female stereotypes whether they did sext or not, indicating that when it comes to sexting, girls really are 'damned if they do, damned if they don’t'.”

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Games Developer - HTML5

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Back End

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has bec...

    Guru Careers: Trainer / IT Trainer

    £30 to £32k : Guru Careers: We are seeking a Trainer / IT Trainer to join an a...

    Recruitment Genius: Project / Account Manager and IT Support

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This world leader in Online Pro...

    Day In a Page

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

    Margaret Atwood on climate change

    The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

    What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

    Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

    The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

    Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

    Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

    Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

    The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
    10 best waterproof mascaras

    Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

    We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
    Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

    Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

    Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
    Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
    Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'