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This suggests a consent issue of people receiving photos without asking for them.This is enhanced with Snapchat, as the person receiving snapchats will not be aware of the contents until they open it. In a 2011 study, 54% of the sample had sent explicit pictures or videos to their partners at least once, and ⅓ of their sample had engaged in such activities occasionally.Perhaps shedding light on the over-reporting of earlier studies, the researchers found that the figure rose to 9.6% when the definition was broadened from images prosecutable as child pornography to any suggestive image, not necessarily nude ones.has received wide international media attention for calling into question the findings reported by the University of New Hampshire researchers.

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As a result of sexting being a relatively recent practice, ethics are still being established by both those who engage in it and those who create legislation based on this concept.

A widely cited 2011 study indicated the previously reported prevalence was exaggerated.

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire surveyed 1,560 children and caregivers, reporting that only 2.5 percent of respondents had sent, received or created sexual pictures distributed via cell phone in the previous year.

Sexting has been promoted further by several direct messaging applications that are available on smartphones.

The difference between using these applications and traditional texting is that content is transmitted over the Internet or a data plan, allowing anyone with Internet access to participate.