LECTURE 18- 11/09/17

Online dating in 2013

  • Main findings from a Pew Internet Research report from 2013 USA
  • 10% of all Americans have used an online dating site/mobile dating app
  • Single and looking, the number rises to 38%

Online activity in 2013 USA

  • Technology usage data
  • 85% of American adults use the internet
  • 72% use social networking sites
  • 91% have a cell phone
  • 4% of cell owning teens ages 12-17 say they have sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images of themselves to someone else via text messaging
  • 15% of cell owning teens ages 12-17 say that have received sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images of someone they know via text messaging on their cell phone
  • Older teens are much more likely to send and receive these images, 8% of 17 year olds with cell phones have sent a sexually provocative image by text and 30% have received nude or nearly nude images of their phone
  • Teens that pay their own phone bills are more likely to send “sexts”. 3%, who don’t pay for bills, send these images
  • Age is the strongest predictor of sexting
  • 9% of adult cell owners have sent a sext of themselves to someone else, up from 6% of cell owners who said this is 2012
  • 20% of cell owners have received a sext of someone else they know on their phone, up from 15% who said this in 2012
  • Married and partnered adults are just as likely to have sent and received sexts
  • Smartphone owners are significantly more likely that other cell phone owners to sext

Sexting among adults in USA 2016

  • Sample = 5805 single adults (2830 women, 2975 men), ranging from 21 to 71+ years
  • 21% of participants reported sexting
  • 28% reported receiving sexually explicit text messages
  • Both sending and receiving sexts was most common among younger respondents

Typologies of Sextings

  • Pew Research from 2009 identifies three main scenarios for sexting:
  • Exchange of images solely between two romantic partners
  • Exchanges between partners that are shares with others outside the relationship
  • Exchanges between people who are not yet in a relationship, but where at least one person hopes to be

Sexting: the act of sending, receiving, or forwarding nude photos or sexually suggestive messages via cell phone (2009)

Sexting: receiving, sending, or forwarding sexually suggestive photos or videos via cell phone (2014)

Sexting is a term combining the words sex and testing and describes sending sexually suggestive photos or messages through text messages

Potential reasons for participation

  • Sociological
    • As a form of sexual communication in the era of mobile technologies, sexting may be used between two people as a means of flirting (2013)
    • Undergraduate students in Botswana sent their sexts to their boyfriend/ girlfriend in order to flirt, to have fun or to initiate sexual activity.
    • LGBT-identifying minorities were more likely to engage in sexting behaviour
  • Psychological
    • Drouin & Landgraff (2012) found from a survey study that those with attachment avoidance were more likely to engage in sexting, just as they are more likely to engage in casual sex, which led them to suggest that it is therefore possible that sexting is a form of casual sex and/ or a symptom of sexual addiction
    • However, Morey et al (2012) found from a survey study, avoidance was correlated with less frequent phone and text messaging and correlated with more frequent email. Thus, there is some avoidance of certain communication tools that may allow for greater intimacy.
    • Email is less committal than texting
      • Not instantaneous
      • Safer
      • Easier to switch and create new e-mail accounts rather than a new phone or phone number
    • Technological
      • Those with a smartphone are more likely to sext (2014)
        • There is a front facing camera, better camera quality

Effects of sexting

  • Teen’s attitudes towards sexting vary widely, from those who do not think it is a major issue to others who think it is inappropriate, slutty, potentially damaging or illegal. Some view sexting as a safer alternative to real life sexual activity
    • “it’s not against my religion or anything”

Consensual vs. Non consensual sexting

  • Consensual sexting is not intended to cause harm, but possible non-malicious acts could lead to distribution
  • 2% of participants reported discomfort with unauthorised sharing of sexts beyond the intended recipient
    • Of those who had received sext images, 22.9% reported sharing them with others ( on average with 3.17 friends)
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