Demystifying sexting: Adolescent sexting and its associations with parenting styles and sense of parental social control in Israel



The present study examined sexting habits (sending text messages, as well as nude or semi-nude photos, and/or requesting the same from others) among adolescents, as reported by 458 students (101 boys, 357 girls), with the aim of investigating whether and how sexting correlates with parenting styles and manifestations of parental social control. An online link was published on social media, asking participants who meet the research criteria to complete several questionnaires. About 30% of the participants reported sending sexual messages, and almost 32% reported that others, mainly strangers, asked them to send nude or semi-nude photos. Furthermore, sexting was more common among high-school students than among middle-school students, and asking another person to send nude or semi-nude photos was more common among boys than among girls. Lower parental social control was related to increased likelihood of sexting, and higher perception of permissive parenting style was associated with asking someone else to send nude or semi-nude photos. These findings shed light on sexting among adolescents in Israel. Moreover, the findings show that adolescents do not report sexting either to parents or to other significant adults in their lives, such as teachers or other educational staff at school. The article concludes with implications for educators and educational counselors in view of these findings.

Sexting; adolescence; Internet; parenting style; social control
Author biography

Michal Dolev-Cohen

Oranim College of Education


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