IU study finds that sexting isn’t as private as you might think

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A study on sexting at Indiana University found that a quarter of people who receive sexts share them with others.

The study, led by research scientist Justin Garcia at the Kinsey Institute, used data from 5,000 people ages 20 to 70 who participated in an annual survey sponsored by Match.com. Garcia said it was not, however, limited to people who date online.

The study found that 21% of people had sexted, while even more, 28%, had received sexts. That, despite the fact that 73% said they worried a sext could be shared.

"A vast majority of people said they do think that there are risks to their reputation, to their career, and other factors associated with sexting behavior," Garcia said.

They could be right. The study found that 23%, almost one in four people, admitted to sharing a sext. On average, those people shared it with three or more friends.

We asked people in Bloomington what they would've predicted, and their reactions were mixed.

"I can totally imagine my friends being like, 'Oh my gosh, I have to forward this to someone,'" Kate Elliott said. "Most of my friends would find a sext very awkward."

"I would hope that none of them were sharing," Brian Rutter said. " I don’t think it’s right to invade someone’s privacy like that and share those intimate images."

In fact, Garcia said the next step would be to find out how sexting is being shared, and whether it could be considered criminal. Some Indiana legislators have previously discussed the issues of sextortion and the sharing of intimate images.

"We can think sexting and think at first, this is something kind of fun, maybe even funny for some, but it turns out there’s some serious implications," Garcia said.

The study also found that 87% of women would be upset if someone shared a sext, while just 59% of men said the same.

For more information on the study, go to the link here.

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