Sexting 'Craze' May Really Be Skewed Polling
'Internet cowboys and cowgirls' twist results of online surveys
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2009 10:05 AM CDT
'Sexting' may not be as prominent as a recent poll suggests.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – One in five teenagers have shared naughty pictures of themselves over the phone or online—at least according to reports of the “sexting epidemic” that’s been causing hysteria lately. But the figure might be bogus, the Wall Street Journal reports, because it’s based on a voluntary online survey. “These kinds of samples select Internet cowboys and cowgirls,” said a researcher.

The poll's sponsors—an anti-teen pregnancy group and CosmoGirl.com—say teens are more likely to share personal details online than they would in a phone survey. But polling experts say that’s the problem. Research suggests that online panelists are usually heavy Internet users who “are all about sharing information and putting themselves out there,” said the chair of a professional pollsters organization.