NSPCC 'sexting' study: behind the hyperbole...
The NSPCC released a study yesterday that is being picked up by the media today. If you haven't read it, I'd encourage you to do so: it's a sobering read:
A qualitative study of children, young people and 'sexting' - NSPCC
What I don't encourage you to do is just read the media reports on it, because as usual they have picked up on the worst aspects of the study and almost completely ignored the context. That isn't to say that what the study reports on is not shocking, because it is, but in my mind the incredibly limited scope of the study throws serious doubt on how typical the behaviour they found truly is.
The study covered a grand total of 2 London schools, and does itself state:
"Caution" is not the word I'd use. The schools were hand-picked by the researchers, and while they claim to cover a wide range of cultural backgrounds, and were in mixed socio-economic status population areas, the report crucially states that "both schools are located in geographical areas associated with gang activity and crime". At the risk of sounding prejudiced, that's exactly the sort of area I'd expect to find the worst sorts of behaviour that they did in fact find, and I strongly suspect the researchers knew that very well when they picked those schools.
While we believe that the findings that emerged are far from unique to the two year groups studied in two schools, considerable caution is needed before making any generalisations to other groups.
As an example of the worst case scenario, it's excellent. But I would not use it to make generalisations at all, let alone with caution.