For some teens, sexting is an all-too-common activity, and they don’t see why it’s such a big deal. For those of you who haven’t ever heard of sexting, it’s the practice of sharing explicit photos, videos and chat, by cell phone or online – and it has become pretty popular with teenagers.
An Associated Press-MTV poll found that more than a quarter of young people have been involved in sexting in some form, at some time.
So what’s the big deal?
Research shows that in a teenage brain, areas that assess risks and decision-making are the last to fully develop. That means risky activities, such as sexting, speeding to impress friends, not wearing a seatbelt, etc. seem like a good idea.
And, according to the Associated Press, “by the mid-teens, the brain’s reward centers, the parts involved in emotional arousal, are well-developed, making teens more vulnerable to peer pressure.”
It’s as easy as a simple algebraic equation (in this case, let’s say N is the amount of peer pressure applied)
Peer pressure x N + inability to fully access risks = one bad situation
Now you’re probably asking yourself, what does this have to do with safe driving?
The equation can also be applied to behaviors when you’re in a car. Imagine you’re driving a bunch of your friends to a movie. They want you to speed up so you don’t miss the previews (peer pressure). You think, it won’t hurt anybody if I speed (not fully assessing the risks involved). You could even add in the chance that one of you isn’t buckled up. The end result could be a car crash, a life-flight, or even death.
So what can you do?
Use peer pressure in a positive way to talk your friends into practicing safe habits in any situation – it could be when they’re driving or thinking about sexting.
To read more about how TDS teens are using positive-peer pressure to change their friends driving habits, check out the teen team pages.