The act of sexting refers to receiving and sending such images, videos or messages which are sexually suggestive through mobile phones. It has become common among the young adults all over the world. This critical review will provide the main strengths and weaknesses of the article “Sexting among young adults” by Gordon-Messer. The article discusses the research conducted on the young adults of the US population who send and receive such sexual content using their mobile phones. The topic is of interest to the researchers and should be because the notion of sexting may have adverse effects on an individual’s physical and psychological health. Hence, the research helps to spread the awareness of the consequences and the solution to the prevailing conditions.
The article first introduces the readers to the concept of sexting and admits that there has been very little systematic research on the connection between health behaviours and sexting. The past studies on the topic have been briefly described. For instance, the study of Lenhart suggested that 13% of the people aged 18-29 have sent such images, video, and messages through their cell phones while 31% was reported to receive them. These statistics have also been observed on the basis of gender, ethnic group, and race. Men (21%) were more probable to be the receivers than the females (11%). Hispanic (22%) and African-American (27%) adults received more sexts than Whites (12%). The article emphasizes on the importance of learning that how sexting is linked to sexual behaviours as it could be encouraged for the safer sex or could be used as an intervention for the prevention of risky sexual behaviour. Past studies have also suggested a relationship between sexting and the psychological well-being. It has been found out that young adults suffering from any kind of anxiety tend to sext more than those who are comparatively healthy psychologically.
The article also points out the consequences of sexting from a psychological point of view. Spreading of sexual or nude images, videos and messages are a cause of mental distress for those who do not intend to spread it but keep it secret with their partners or friends. Many cases of dating violence and blackmailing have been seen as a result of sexting. Thus the article aims to spread the awareness that research is required in this field as ignorance can lead to distressful situations among the society. The article also discusses the implications of sexting for the young adults and suggests guidelines for both investigation and practice. The methodology applied for the research consisted of sampling, procedures, measures, and results. The measures observed included depression, anxiety, self-esteem, sociodemographic characteristics, internet use, and texting as means of communication. These measures were noted to determine whether sexting increases or decreases these factors and does it have any impact on the psychological well-being of a person. The results of the research suggested that sexting does not relate to risky sexual behaviour or the well-being of an individual psychologically. Males were reported to receive more sexual images and messages than the females.
The result that the article suggested about the possible relationship of sexting with the risky sexual behaviours and psychological consequences does not seem to be evident. This is because of the sampling method used which made some educational and racial groups underrepresented. Consequently, the results are not generalizable to the population of the young adults as a whole. Apart from the drawbacks of the study, the article represents one of the first to examine and investigate the impacts of sexting on the young adults. It provides a more extensive examination of sexual behaviours as compared to other studies on a national scale. It also pointed out that sending a sext without receiving a reply is not a common practice in young adults. The article also gives a way to conceptualize sexting by introducing its different categories. Strassberg (2013) agrees with Gordon-Messer on the point that future research is important to closely examine motivations of the young adults and other factors, and suggests the possibility of positive impacts of sexting. “There may also be positive consequences of sexting to be identified (e.g., can such behaviour, when based on mutual consent, ever improve a relationship?)” (Strassberg, 2013). The relationship between depression, anxiety, self-esteem, sociodemographic factors, internet use, and mobile texting with the notion of sexting has not been examined extensively, but the clue is provided by the article. When the data of recent sexual activity (I the past 30 days) was analyzed, it was found out that no connection exists between sexting behaviour and the number of partners, percentage of unprotected vaginal sex or ratio of unprotected anal sex partners. Hence, this result cannot be generalized to the overall sexual health of the population as a whole as the data was just limited to the previous thirty days of sexual activity.
Thus, the article “Sexting among young adults” was informative and thought-provoking. It gave the way for further research on the topic and explained its strengths and weaknesses in detail. It provided the recommendations and limitations of its research. The act of sexting was discussed in detail and its relationship with the sexual behaviours and psychological well-being of the individuals was examined. The results found out that no such relationship existed, but further research must be conducted as it cannot be generalized.
Benotsch, E. G., Snipes, D. J., Martin, A. M., & Bull, S. S. (2013). Sexting, substance use, and sexual risk behaviour in young adults. Journal of Adolescent Health, 52(3), 307-313.
Eschweiler, J., Bauermeister, J. A., Grodzinski, A., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2013). Sexting among young adults.
Gordon-Messer, D., Bauermeister, J. A., Grodzinski, A., & Zimmerman, M. (2013). Sexting among young adults. Journal of Adolescent Health, 52(3), 301-306.
Judge, A. M. (2012). “Sexting” among US adolescents: Psychological and legal perspectives. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 20(2), 86-96.
Levine, D. (2013). Sexting: a terrifying health risk… or the new normal for young adults?. Journal of Adolescent Health, 52(3), 257-258.
Strassberg, D. S., McKinnon, R. K., Sustaíta, M. A., & Rullo, J. (2013). Sexting by high school students: An exploratory and descriptive study. Archives of Sexual behaviour, 42(1), 15-21.