A new survey from The National Campaign shows that 22% of teen girls and 18% of teen boys in the US have sent or posted nude or semi-nude pictures or videos of themselves on the internet. (Read full report.)
Granted, only 653 teens answered the survey, but the answers are still interesting. They raise a lot of questions. My first question, though, is what US people mean by "semi-nude". I know many in the US are hysterical about nudity, so maybe they mean photos with "just a little underwear" or something? Although the report lists "definitions of terms", this term is not defined.
Secondly, I wonder - contrary to my first question - if this means that US teens are getting more relaxed about nudity. Could this actually be a sign of a more healthy attitude than before? I can't really find any signs of that in the material.
Why do guys send nude photos of themselves online? The main reason given (when asked why boys send photos of themselves) is "Get or keep a girl’s attention" (for some reason, to get or keep a boy's attention was not included as an alternative). 61% answered that. 57% answered "Get a girl to like them" ("Get a boy to like them" was not included). 49% "To get noticed", 49% also "In response to one he received".
Teens think that "sending suggestive messages or nude/semi-nude pictures/video of oneself" is dangerous (67%), flirty (61%), stupid (57%), exciting (49%), hot (46%), fun (43%), lame (42%) and immoral (40%). Maybe the last one in my list is the most interesting: it shows that in the US, the "moral majority" of teens now thinks that it's okay to send these things.
We also see that the answers are very ambivalent: it's dangerous and stupid, but also (or therefore?) exciting and hot.
As in other parts of life, it may seem that the internet changes the way we behave in very fundamental ways. It will be interesting to see more research - not the least research in other countries.
(Thanks to VG for pointing me to this article.)