Often when many think about teens and sexting, the focus is on the consequences of the action rather than the environment which encourages the behaviors. That's like focusing on the end result of a weight loss regiment without paying particular attention to the steps necessary to achieve one's weight loss goals first!
As a family technology speaker and advocate, one of the hardest things I've had to deal with is young ladies approaching either myself or my wife after one of our seminars and telling us that they've sexted a boy, it's gotten out of hand and then ask how we can help them or how they can "fix" the problem. The study that my colleague, Anne Collier, writes about on her blog, NetFamilyNews.org outlines the pressures, problems and culture that teens deal with which can lead to sexting behaviors. I say behaviors because in our culture, sexting is often thought of as an act that occurs via mobile phone and picture messaging (SMS or MMS) but with products like Apple Facetime, Skype or Google+ Hangouts, children have access to mobile video chat technology which enables them to do so much more than send each other inappropriate static pictures. And these behaviors associated with sexting may also take place via computer webcam and more so the problem really is more involved than just a cell phone... it's the big picture that parents need to wrap their heads around.
The big picture here, according to the study, is that though the technology is new and the access is seemingly ubiquitous, the reasons are as old as tribes and high school cliques. It's still peer pressure which can lead children to get involved in risky behaviors as well as a lack of open communication with mom and dad. We (you and I, mom and dad) have to begin "the talk" with our children as early as we believe appropriate and include in that ongoing conversation, discussion about healthy boundaries in electronic exchanges. I often find myself telling Junior High girls that any boy who needs to see more of you than what I see before now, just to like you, doesn't deserve you. The problem being that these nude electronics exchanges are often cries, or attempts, on the part of young ladies to attract boys or hook a would-be boyfriend.
For the full report, you can go here and get Anne's assessment of it as well as the link to the report download.