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Study: Teens have no qualms about uploading naughty pics

About one in five teens and a third of young adults have e-mailed, texted or posted online nude or semi-nude photos of themselves, according to a survey released today.

"I know a lot of girls who have posted (photos like that), some are even naked," said Katlyn Sands, 15, a ninth-grader at Langley High School in Sheraden. "I think it's kind of trashy."

Many local high school and college students weren't surprised by the findings of the online survey, conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com.

Sands and her friend Katherene Lamb, 19, a senior at Langley, said they'd never post suggestive images of themselves online or send them in texts.

"It leaves nothing to the imagination," Lamb said. "I have more class."

Most respondents said they had sent sexy images to a boyfriend or girlfriend.

But the images don't stop there. One-third of teen boys and 25 percent of teen girls say they have had nude or semi-nude images that were meant to be private shared with them.

Unwanted exposure is something people should seriously consider, said Bill Albert, chief program officer for The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

"It's different than whispering sweet nothings in someone's ear," Albert said. "When you send these materials out, you lose all control over them, and they can live in perpetuity."

That's why Pitt junior Hanna Goldberg, 20, said she's careful about what she shares online.

"I keep what's posted of me tasteful," she said. "Jobs have access to (social networking site) Facebook now. My mom is on Facebook."

However, some girls feel pressured to send or post sexy images, according to the survey. About half the girls and young women surveyed said pressure from a guy is why they send sexy messages or images.

Doing so could result in a higher likelihood of sexual behavior, Albert said.

"Sending (sexy images) not only makes them more forward, it leads to a more casual-hookup culture," he said.

About one-third of teens and young adults said exchanging sexually suggestive content makes dating or hooking up with others more likely. About 30 percent of teenagers believe those exchanging sexy content are "expected" to date or hook up.

Christy Lehrman, 14, a ninth-grader at Langley, questioned her peers' willingness to share sexual images.

"Why," she said, "would you expose yourself like that?"

Additional Information:

'Sexting'

According to an online survey of 1,280 teens and adults ages 20-26:

• 22 percent of teen girls and 18 percent of teen boys said they have sent or posted online nude or semi-nude images of themselves

• 33 percent of young adults ages 20-26 said they have sent or posted such images

• Sending sexually suggestive messages is even more prevalent: About 50 percent of young people ages 13-26 have sent sexually suggestive text messages or e-mails

• 70 percent of those who have sent or posted sexually suggestive images felt it was 'fun and flirtatious'

• 22 percent say sending sexually suggestive content is 'no big deal'

Source: National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

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