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Sexting: 7 Facts Parents Need to Know

Last Updated: August 8, 2022

Matt Fradd
Matt Fradd

Matt Fradd is the author of Delivered: True Stories of Men and Woman Who Turned from Porn to Purity. After experiencing a profound conversion at World Youth Day in Rome in 2000, Matt has worked through full-time lay ministry in Australia, Ireland, Canada, and Texas. He has served as an apologist for Catholic Answers and has traveled all over the world, speaking to tens of thousands of teens and young adults. He and his wife Cameron have four children and live in North Georgia.

In today’s culture, sexting is becoming more and more common. Let’s look at 7 facts parents need to know about this trend.

1. Sexting is sending nude or otherwise provocative images of yourself online or through your cell phone.

2. Comparing the many surveys done on this subject, it is safe to say between 7-9% of teens (14 to 17-years-old) send sexts, while older age groups tend to have higher percentages, up to 20% or 30%.

3. Regardless of how common sending or receiving sexts is, surveys show it is a fairly visible activity amongst teens and young adults.

When 535 students from 18 schools in South West UK responded to a survey, 39% said at least one of their friends has “shared intimate pictures/video” with a boyfriend or girlfriend. When the same students were asked how many incidents of sexting in the past year they were aware of, 50% said “one or two” incidents, 19% said “a few,” and 24% said it happens regularly or all the time.

4. The most common person a sexter sends pictures or video to is a boyfriend or girlfriend.

5. According to a National Campaign survey, the most common reason why a teen sends or posts a sext is to be “fun or flirtatious.” Additionally, 43% said they have sent sexts as a “sexy” present for their boyfriend or girlfriend, 25% “to get a guy or girl’s attention,” and 24% “to feel sexy.”

6. Sexts can be easily forwarded or shown to others. Estimates found by the MTV/Associated Press state that 18% of young people say they have shared sexts sent to them with another person.

7. Sexting can easily go awry. According to danah boyd, a Principle Researcher at Microsoft Research, the stories she hears visiting schools becomes quickly formulaic. “Formula #1: Boy and girl are dating, images are shared. Boy and girl break up. Spurned lover shames the other by spreading images. Formula #2: Girl really likes boy, sends him sexy images. He responds by sharing them, shaming her.”*

When you combine a pornified culture with a texting generation, is it really any surprise that it results in sexting?
*boyd, danah. 2011. “Teen Sexting and Its Impact on the Tech Industry.” Read Write Web 2WAY Conference. New York, NY, June 13.
  • Comments on: Sexting: 7 Facts Parents Need to Know
    1. TJ

      I don’t know where you get your statistics from or the methods by which they are gathered, but they are nonsense. The reality is that pretty much everyone is sexting. Either via texts, email, or social media. A school in my area confiscated the phones of freshman. Of the girls, over 75% of them were sending out nude pictures. The boys actually were lower. It is actually the girls doing this. But that is to be expected because it has happened throughout recorded time — women use their beauty to get what they want. I wish Covenant Eyes and Christians would be more realistic about human life. People love sex. Our species is hardwired for sex. That will never change and you really have to scratch your head and wonder why God made the sexual desire region of the male brain 2.5 times larger than the female region and pumped him with 10 times the testosterone. Then he turns around and says —- dont think about sex. I have seen fundamentalist Christianity destroy more lives than I care to recall because of the complete insanity of their expectations. There may be a God and I believe in Christ, but the way fundamentalists think and their hypocrisy is just staggering.

      • Riley Brown

        The statistics are just that statistics. The “real life” you speak of is true and that is what is happening but there is the sense of shame, just like in the garden of Eden that Adam and Eve knew once they had sinned, because they were naked. They wanted to hide themselves from God and conceal their nakedness because of the shame. That is probably why the statistics are lower than the actual reality, shame. Also, God created sex. He is the ordainer of marriage and undefiled sex when expressed in the marriage bed (Heb. 13:4). He does not turn around and say “don’t think about sex now that I’ve created you to be sexual beings.” No. Christianity is the most pro-sex religion in the world for the very reason that when it is done in the way pleasing to God as He desires it to be done, it should be done often. However, it should be done often only between a husband and wife. God expects that His children avoid all appearance of evil (1 Thess. 5:22) and that no hint of immorality be named among them (Eph. 5:3). The standard is a holy God and what He expects from man is up to Him to decide and only by the power of the Spirit can the Christian be obedient and successful. You need to think of spiritual purity as a moment by moment choice not a destination that can be arrived at. The only way one can be completely pure in every way is to be glorified.

      • Lisa Eldred

        It’s true: God created our sex drives! Sex is a gift designed to build intimacy between a husband and wife. So the message shouldn’t be “Don’t think about sex.” It should be “Think about God’s beautiful plan for marriage.” Sexting, and pornography, and 50 Shades of Gray simply don’t fit into that plan.

    2. Rick Bergener

      God Bless You Covenant Eyes I thank God for your Ministry It Saved my Marriage and my Relationship with the Lord and brothers in Christ.
      I am going to stay the course each day and keep my eyes fixed on Jesus.
      I am asking the Holy Spirit to use me in this Ministry to help other brothers be set free from porn.
      Covenant Eyes Please keep me in prayer.

    3. Hello there! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My website looks weird when viewing from my iphone 4. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to resolve this issue. If you have any recommendations, please share. Thank you!

      • Annelise Hoshal


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    4. tabi paulin

      mind the way you talk about God. you do not have any right to judge Him on anything whatsoever. and by the way He didn’t say we should not think about sex. rather we should be in the rightful position such as being married to get involved in sex. a lot of us turn to blame God for things which we ourselves are not fully knowledgeable about. God created sex for married people and He has given the ability for unmarried people to stay without sex until they have their marriage partners. but since man loves sin man has decided to engage in sex before the appropriate time. if all could repent and be saved then we would not have situations of sexting cause all would fear God and would want to keep His commandments. if you have not yet been born-again please try and do so by confessing your sins to Jesus, repenting and forsaking them, believe that His blood has power to cleanse you from all unrighteousness and you will experience His mercy and power of forgiveness in your life and you will never blame Him for anything abnormal in this world.

    5. Sam

      My heart has often been broken to see the daughters of “Good Christian” families posting very skimpy beach photos on social media. It is not private or behind closed doors it is in everyone’s face. Where are the parents? Where is the discernement and dignity due a daughter of the KING?

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