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Comment & Response
September 2018

Nonconsensual Sexting and the Role of Sex Differences—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 2Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 3Universiteit Antwerpen, Antwerp, Belgium
  • 4University of Texas Branch at Galveston
JAMA Pediatr. 2018;172(9):890-891. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.1951

In Reply We appreciate the comments by Reed et al on our article1 and for drawing attention to a pressing concern for parents, educators, and practitioners: that the sharing of sexually explicit images and videos can leave teenagers vulnerable to having their sexts forwarded or shared without consent.

The literature on sex differences in sexting behaviors has been inconsistent. One central focus of a meta-analysis is to resolve discrepancies in study findings. Thus, we fully support the statement by Reed et al that analyses should consider sex as a potential moderator of nonconsensual sexting. The assumption has generally been that boys are more likely to be the forwarders (ie, perpetrators) of nonconsensual sexts and that girls are more likely to have their sexts forwarded nonconsensually (ie, knowledge that their image had been shared without consent). Our meta-analysis of 5 studies focusing on perpetration of nonconsensual sexting and 4 studies on the victimization of nonconsensual sexting did not support these expectations. We also did not find any significant sex differences in the rate of consensual sending or receiving of sexts.