By the age of 13, more than one in three children who use smartphones have been exposed to sexting, a parenting app has revealed.
Jiminy, which enables parents to check on their children’s phone use, analysed over 54 million messages and 1.5 million hours of phone usage to better understand the extent of sexting among children.
Its research showed that on phones monitored by the app, one in seven children had sent or received a sexual message by the age of ten.
The report revealed that both boys and girls had a problem with sexting, but that girls were more likely to be exposed earlier, with just under one in six (15.5 per cent) exposed to sexual messages by the age of eight.
Girls were also more likely to send or receive sexual messages at almost every age.
Almost one in four children had requested or been asked to send nude photographs or videos.
Jiminy’s report said that teens have “always been drawn to sexual exploration”, but that “sexting carries a unique set of risks”.
It said: “Sexting forces the minor to be an active participant, rather than a passive observer. Sexting involves interactions with other people, including strangers, whose access to the child can cause much harm.”
It added that “sexting leaves a mark, typically in the form of words, pictures, and videos. These traces can follow the minor for years to come.”