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Juvenile Sexting

As technology continues to grow and help us make and maintain interpersonal connections, increase workplace efficiency, explore the universe and the atom, it also contains the capacity to do irreparable harm to institutions, businesses, families, the environment and individuals. The speed of evolving technology sometimes outperforms our ability as individuals and a culture to appropriately assess the impacts such technology can have, before the harm is done. The advent of ‘sexting’ is one such harm stemming from the ready availability of cellular technology and digital media developed over the past 10 years.

‘Sexting’ involves teens sending explicit photographs of themselves or others via cellular technology and/or digital media. Due to the strong anti-child pornography laws in the United States, along with tendencies toward risk taking behaviors and strong affinity for technological aptitude, children and adolescents are at risk of multiple consequences from engaging in ‘sexting’ behaviors.

In the presentation, we will define ‘sexting’, review the psychology related to online and digital media behaviors, review studies reporting prevalence, and the potential consequences of ‘sexting’ behavior. We will also review various ways to address this very dangerous behavior with children, adolescents and families.

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The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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