Adolescent Sexting: What Researchers and Practitioners Need to Know
Adolescents and young adults (AYA) are the most prolific users of technology and social media. Online platforms are providing an opportunity for them to interact with others and explore their personal identity — including developing views about sexual behaviors. Facilitated by evolving social media platforms, sexting is a growing online phenomenon in which AYAs are communicating sexually themed messages and images via mobile devices.
Information regarding young people’s online sexual behaviors via social media is extremely limited and — for published studies — have resulted in diverse findings. This leaves practitioners and parents without the necessary resources to guide youth through healthy sexual and intimate relationship development within the context of a digital social landscape.
In this webinar, presenters Amanda Williams, Ph.D., and Jennifer Becnel, Ph.D., will guide webinar participants through research on AYA sexting. They’ll discuss:
- updated, context-sensitive definitions of a spectrum of sexting behaviors;
- problematic prevalence data;
- sources of sexual health and sexting information;
- links with health and health-risk behaviors;
- “what parents should know” about sexting, from the perspective of late adolescents/emerging adults; and
- research and theory on sexting to enhance Family Life Education and health care practice.
Attendees will gain a comprehensive understanding of the limitations of existing information on online sexual behaviors; why these behaviors matter for youth and adult well-being; and the important role of parents, educators, and health practitioners in framing this behavior that has become pervasive and normative, yet introduces substantial psychosocial and physical health risks.
Approved for 1 CFLE contact hour of continuing education credit.
As a result of attending the webinar, participants will be able to:
- define sexting as a spectrum of behaviors based on context and consent;
- scrutinize sexting prevalence data among different age groups of young people;
- adapt sources of sexual health and behavior information to meet youth needs; and
- link online sexting behaviors with physical and psychosocial health.
About the Presenters
Amanda Williams, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of human development and Family Science at the University of Arkansas. Her interdisciplinary, mixed-method research addresses adolescent and emerging adult health and development in diverse contexts. Specifically, she emphasizes families, communities, and digital landscapes. She has numerous publications and presentations focused on the role of social media technology in human development, parent-child relationships, and intimate relationships. Her paper entitled, iFamily: Internet, social media, and family connectedness, was the Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal’s outstanding paper published in 2011 and was the journal’s No. 2 most downloaded article in 2015-2016. She has taught undergraduate courses introducing the topic of child and family technology use, as well as a graduate family policy course framing technology as a digital advocacy tool. Dr. Williams is a member of NCFR’s Families and Technology Focus Group, previously served on the Affiliate Councils Board, and was the 2012 recipient of the NCFR Student Award and SNP President-for-a-Day Award.
Jennifer Becnel, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of human development and Family Science at the University of Arkansas. She studies adolescent and young adult risk behaviors and physical health, with specific focus on substance use and sexual risk among youth with overweight, obesity, and severe obesity. With Dr. Williams, Dr. Becnel’s current research explores the role of technology in youth sexual communication and potential associations with mental health, physical health, and other risk behaviors. In addition, she is interested in how adults — parents, educators, health care providers — communicate with teens regarding technology and sexual development, health, and relationships. Dr. Becnel was an NIH Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
On-Demand Webinar Recording and Classroom Use
Even if you can't watch this webinar live, your registration will still grant you access to watch the recording at your convenience. The fee for this webinar is $25 for NCFR student members, $45 for NCFR members, $85 for nonmembers.
License for classroom use by one professor is available for $105 for NCFR members, $185 for nonmembers.
License for departmental use (multiple professors) is available for $155 NCFR member / $305 nonmember.
Departmental license for CFLE-approved programs is $125.