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Teens Sext More When They Know It's a Crime

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Recent studies show that being aware of the consequences of sexting while underage, like being charged with child pornography, only increases the chance a teen will engage in such behavior, Buzzfeed reports.

While 24% of underage students who are unaware of the potential legal consequences of sending or receiving naked pictures of themselves via their iPhone (AAPL) or Android (GOOG) engaged in the activity, a whopping 35% of kids who knew the risks went ahead and did it anyway. Overall, 20% of high school students have sent out nude pics from their phones, according to a recent University of Utah study, while 25% have forwarded them.

Rules against teenage behavior, of course, have alway been the most fun to break, but can the threat of serious jail time and the stigma of being placed on some sex offender’s list really be that compelling?

Yes, according to the study, which was published in journal Archives of Sexual Behavior and based on 606 private school students in the Southwest.

Being aware of the potential repercussions, like knowing the risks of smoking or driving drunk, is not the same as truly understanding that it’s a real threat, argues lead study author Donald Strassberg. It’s the old “it can’t happen to me” mindset that’s not uncommon in the adolescent years. Still, why would teens sext more after knowing what could befall them?

Strassberg has a theory on that as well: He could be completely wrong about it.

Meaning, that maybe results from the study are just a crazy aberration and perhaps his follow-up study will reveal that teens actually are somewhat aware of potentially life-destroying actions they decide to take.

Let’s hope so, because seeing teens with those really big loops in their earlobes is bad enough, but it still has to be cooler than doing time for kiddie porn, right? 
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