A new study by MTV and the Associated Press show that almost one-third of teens have sent nude photos or videos of themselves, and are more likely to be bullied online by their friends than from adult predators.
The study, released Thursday, found that 50 percent of 14- to 24-year-olds have experienced some type of digital abuse during their time spent online or through their mobile phones.
Around 30 percent of the 1,247 teens and young adults interviews, said they had either sent or received nude photos on their cell phones or online, a practice known as sexting.
The study is part of a new multi-year campaign the youth-oriented music network launched on Thursday with numerous partners, including Facebook, MySpace and LoveIsRespect.org.
The campaign, dubbed A Thin Line, aims to educate teens and college-age students about the dangers of technology and the highlight the risks involved.
The goal is to get the word out that technology can harm young people and help them understand digital abuse and learn how to not be a victim.
The study's definition of digital abuse includes spreading false rumors, being pressured into sending naked photos or videos, spreading false rumors, posting up something mean about someone else, being teased and posting up embarrassing photos or videos of others.
Out of the ones that said they sent provocative images, 29 percent shared the images with someone they only knew online and had never met in person. Meanwhile 61 percent said they did it because they were pressured by someone to do it.
The study showed that 12 percent of those who have sexted said they have considered suicide.
The Web and cell phones help us communicate, connect and learn in ways we never could before, but they've also forever changed how we interact with others. Things we used to share in person – and in private – can now be broadcast to thousands, instantly, MTV said in a statement.
Sometimes we type things we would never say to someone's face. As a result, new issues like forced sexting, textual harassment and cyberbullyiing have emerged, which now affect a majority of young people in the U.S.
Those who have been the victims of digital abuse are more likely to be sexually active or to have engaged in “risky” behavior, such as smoking, using illegal drugs, drinking alcohol or stealing.