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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.
A 2009 study claims that 4 percent of teens ages 14–17 have claimed to have sent sexually explicit photos of themselves.
Fifteen percent of these teens also claimed to have received sexually explicit photos.
Those sending photos over Snapchat believe they will disappear without consequences so they feel more secure about sending them.
There have been several cases where teens have sent photos over these applications, expecting them to disappear or be seen by the recipient only, yet are saved and distributed, carrying social and legal implications.
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.
As seen in Table 1 of their publication, Mitchell et al.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.In a 2013 study conducted by Drouin et al., it was found that sexting is also associated with attachment styles, as those with attachment avoidance are more likely to engage in sexting behaviours (just as these individuals are also more likely to engage in casual sex).Thus, instead of increasing intimacy in these types of relationships, sexting may act as a buffer for physical intimacy.