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A 2009 study claims that 4 percent of teens ages 14–17 have claimed to have sent sexually explicit photos of themselves.
Snapchat appeals to teens because it allows users to send photos for a maximum of ten seconds before they self-destruct.Young adults use the medium of the text message much more than any other new media to transmit messages of a sexual nature.As a result of sexting being a relatively recent practice, ethics are still being established by both those who engage in it and those who create legislation based on this concept.The study had a small sample size, so more research needs to be done surrounding sexting and motivation, but it is clear that sexting is a phenomenon that is not constrained to simply unattached individuals looking for fun; it is used by those in intimate relationships to increase feelings of intimacy and closeness one's partner.For teens, sexting can also act as a prelude (or in lieu of) sexual activity, as an experimental phase for those who are yet to be sexually active, and for those who are hoping to start a relationship with someone.Whether sexting is seen as a positive or negative experience typically rests on the basis of whether or not consent was given to share the images.
Nevertheless, Australian laws currently view under-18s as being unable to give consent to sexting, even if they meet the legal age for sexual consent.
In the University of Utah's study, researchers Donald S. Sustaíta, and Jordan Rullo surveyed 606 teenagers ages 14–18 and found that nearly 20 percent of the students said they had sent a sexually explicit image of themselves via cell phone, and nearly twice as many said that they had received a sexually explicit picture.
Of those receiving such a picture, over 25 percent indicated that they had forwarded it to others.
Sexting has been promoted further by several direct messaging applications that are available on smartphones.
The difference between using these applications and traditional texting is that content is transmitted over the Internet or a data plan, allowing anyone with Internet access to participate.
In 2013, it was found that sexting is often used to enhance the relationship and sexual satisfaction in a romantic partnership.