And from the "Painfully Obvious" department....

Yesterday, a bunch of new stories came out about a study on sexting from the University of Texas Medical Branch. It found that, oh horror of horrors, 30% of the 1000 teenagers they talked to 'admitted to sexting'. What's so funny to me is that these stories go on to say that the study also found that those who had sexted were much more likely to 'admit' to having had sexual intercourse. Wow, what a surprise! Okay, so I 'admit' that I didn't read the study. This is just plain boring so I'm not going to waste my time reading the study. So I don't know exactly where they found these kids and what they asked them. I'm not concerned about that. What I'm concerned about is the conclusions being drawn. The study authors are quoted only as saying that sexting is an indicator of sexual activity, not that it causes it, but the news stories I read strongly implied that it did. One even went so far as to suggest that doctors ask teenagers if they sext because that will tell them if they might be sexually active. Good grief! Why not just ask the kid what he or she is doing? They will tell you or they won't and that's their business. If a doctor asked me if I took naked pictures of myself I would tell her that the last time I checked, you couldn't get pregnant or get a disease from that so mind your own bloody business. But I digress. Is it just me, or is this study utterly pointless and obvious? Doesn't it just make sense that kids who take naked pictures of themselves and send them to their boyfriends or girlfriends are most likely kids who've already gotten naked with said boyfriend or girlfriend - or are planning to do so very soon? It doesn't take a genius to figure it out, does it? I don't really think sexting is the gateway to sex. It's naughty and fun and if you're having naughty fun with someone, that's yet another way to do it. I don't think it happens to often that some guy convinces a girl, against her will, to send him a picture of his boobs, and then suddenly, wham!, out of the blue, she's having sex with him when she really didn't intend to. If that does happen, sexting has little to do with it. That's an abusive dynamic and it can happen with anyone in any way - taking her cell phone away won't change that. Other part that makes my eye twitch is the liberal use of the word 'admitted'. They 'admitted' to sexting, they 'admitted' to having sex. I know this is a term that is used often in health surveys and does not have the connotation in that context that it does in others. But when you report it in a news story, it does have that connotation. It makes it sounds like there is something very wrong with those behaviors and these kids 'admitted' to it - it's very close to the word 'confessed' in this context. A good journalist should use different language. 'Reported' would be a better word. This is just another case of teenagers talking about normal sexual things they do and adults getting their knickers in a twist because they don't want to accept that teenagers are sexual. It's really time to get over it.

Tags: