Sexting and the Teenage Brain

Posted on: 12/4/09 10:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

I think sexting is probably one of the biggest youth culture issues addressed by the news-media in the last year. Our ministry has written articles on the subject, (including this article about how to wade through “media hype”) and I’ve blogged about it numerous times, even this week when we saw another suicide that began from a sexting incident.

Now MTV/Associated Press has taken a poll and shared their findings. I always find it ironic that MTV is doing these studies. I understand why they want to know this information– so they can better understand the generation that they are pimping their smut too— but I just wonder how MTV execs sleep at night when they discover the truth from all these polls.

Even Conan O Brian joked about this in his monologue last night, commenting that MTV was recommending that kids don’t participate in sexting. He jested, “MTV says there’s a time and a place to share these intimate moments… and that’s on one of our 17 reality shows!”    🙂

Anyway… the AP article reporting on this study shares that more than a quarter of young people have been involved in sexting in some form. I also found it interesting that only about half of the kids surveyed saw the issue as a big problem.

The article goes on to talk about the teen brain, arguing that teenage brains are not quite mature enough to make good decisions:

Research shows teenage brains are not quite mature enough to make good decisions consistently. By the mid-teens, the brain’s reward centers, the parts involved in emotional arousal, are well-developed, making teens more vulnerable to peer pressure.

But it is not until the early 20s that the brain’s frontal cortex, where reasoning connects with emotion, enabling people to weigh consequences, has finished forming.

Beyond feeling invincible, young people also have a much different view of sexual photos that might be posted online, Bogle said. They don’t think about the idea that those photos might wind up in the hands of potential employers or college admissions officers, she said.

“Sometimes they think of it as a joke; they have a laugh about it,” Bogle said. “In some cases, it’s seen as flirtation. They’re thinking of it as something far less serious and aren’t thinking of it as consequences down the road or who can get hold of this information. They’re also not thinking about worst-case scenarios that parents might worry about.”

You can read the whole AP article here.

This seems to coincide with earlier research about the brain- I talked about the teenage brain a few years back, with my two cents and a biblical response.

Bottom line: continue to talk with our kids about these issues.

(ht to KJ for the AP article)

One Reply to “Sexting and the Teenage Brain”

Comments are closed.