MTV and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research today released the results of a new survey exploring the pervasiveness of digital abuse among teens and young adults, how it is affecting America's youth and how they're responding to it. According to the survey, trends show that the share of young people affected by digital abuse has declined since 2011, with less than half (49 percent) of those surveyed stating that they have experienced digital abuse, compared to 56 percent in 2011. Additionally, virtually every form of digital abuse tracked in this study -- 26 out of 27 listed -- has declined. When experiencing digital abuse, 44 percent of young people state that they seek help from their parents or family, up over 25 percent from 2011, and the majority (66 percent) say that telling their parents made the situation better.
Sexting is down nearly 20 percent from 2011, with only about a quarter of young people reporting that they have sent or received "sext" messages, compared with one in three in 2011. Meanwhile, just over 10 percent of 14-24 year olds say they have shared naked pictures of videos of themselves. While this number remains relatively consistent over the past few years, the percentage of teens and young adults who say they sent naked pictures to someone they only know online has decreased by more than half since 2009. Additionally, young people report less pressure to send naked pictures or videos of themselves, down over 40 percent compared to 2011 (12 percent vs. 7 percent). Unfortunately there has been less progress on digital dating abuse. On par with 2011, nearly 40 percent of young people in a relationship report experiencing some type of digital dating abuse, with one in five stating that their partner has checked up with them multiple times per day online or via mobile, and that their significant other has read their text messages without their permission.
The MTV and Associated Press-NORC Center study was released today as part of MTV's "A THIN LINE" campaign, which has already empowered more than 1.5 million young people to take action to stop the spread of digital abuse.
Detailed findings from the October 2013 study include:
I. POSITIVE MOMENTUM AND RESPONSE
Less than half of young people (49 percent) report experiencing digital abuse, representing a nearly 15 percent decline from 56 percent in 2011. Some of the positive gains include:
When responding to digital abuse:
II. SEXTING AND RELATIONSHIPS
The number of young people who have sent or received "sext" messages has declined. Of the young people who have shared naked pictures or videos of themselves, over half (66 percent) say they sent naked pictures of themselves to their boyfriend or girlfriend, and less than 15 percent have shared naked pictures with someone they only know online, marking a more than 50 percent decline since 2009.
While fewer young people report sending or receiving "sext" messages, digital dating abuse has unfortunately remained relatively consistent, with nearly 40 percent of young people who are currently in a relationship experiencing some form of digital abuse:
To access the full MTV/AP-NORC research findings from 2013, 2011 and 2009, please go to http://www.research.ATHINLINE.org.
Materials provided by NORC at the University of Chicago. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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