Researchers at the University of New Hampshire surveyed 1,560 children and caregivers, reporting that only 2.5 percent of respondents had sent, received or created sexual pictures distributed via cell phone in the previous year.
Perhaps shedding light on the over-reporting of earlier studies, the researchers found that the figure rose to 9.6% when the definition was broadened from images prosecutable as child pornography to any suggestive image, not necessarily nude ones.
Unfortunately these applications carry the same risks and consequences that have always existed.
Sexting thus can be considered a "behaviour that ties into sexuality and the subsequent level of relationship satisfaction experienced by both partners".
Based on the interviews conducted by Albury and Crawford, they discovered that sexting is commonly used in positive aspects.
Thus, instead of increasing intimacy in these types of relationships, sexting may act as a buffer for physical intimacy.
In a 2008 survey of 1,280 teenagers and young adults of both sexes sponsored by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 20% of teens (13-20) and 33% of young adults (20-26) had sent nude or semi-nude photographs of themselves electronically.
Snapchat appeals to teens because it allows users to send photos for a maximum of ten seconds before they self-destruct.
Those sending photos over Snapchat believe they will disappear without consequences so they feel more secure about sending them.
Sexting has been promoted further by several direct messaging applications that are available on smartphones.
Among the most popular applications for this use in 2015 were Kik, Snapchat, and Whats App.
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.