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Sociologist: Few teens 'sexting'

Jan. 11, 2009 at 1:09 AM

CHICAGO, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- A sociologist says she believes claims many U.S. teens are using their cell phones to send provocative photos of themselves are overblown.

C.J. Pascoe, an assistant professor at Colorado College, told the McClatchy-Tribune News Service she and her research assistant interviewed 80 youngsters as part of the three-year Digital Youth Report study. She said her look at what teens actually do online did not match a poll's claim that 20 percent of teens have sent sexy or nude pictures, a practice nicknamed sexting.

"No one brought it up,'' she said. "I had them go through their last 10 messages, their last 10 photos and I never saw it."

The 20 percent claim came from a poll by Teenage Research Unlimited for CosmoGirl! magazine and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

Pascoe said she believes teenagers are doing what they have always done -- at least since teen culture emerged in the 1950s.

"I think what makes adults nervous about new media is they have a window into a teenager's world for the first time," she said.

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