Previous studies on sexting among teens have found lower rates of participation, but the Texas researchers said the large sample of data included a more diverse study population than past data.
Nevertheless, Beresin said it's important for society to take this study as an indicator of a potential danger for youth.
"The immediate impact may simply be harming one's reputation," Beresin said. "However, in many states, teens are at risk for violating child pornography laws by posting nude photos of themselves or passing on such photos of others. In some instances, for example, kids have been charged with misdemeanors. More severe implications have been reported for such dissemination, such as being placed on sex-offender registries."
Sexting can also elicit cyberbullying, stalking behavior from a recipient and a negative impact on one's image, identity, self-esteem, and relationships.
"The consequences of a sexting message may be very difficult to undo," Beresin warned.