A survey of P.E.I. youth about sexting found that 79 per cent of youth who participated have received a sext message without giving their consent.
A further 77 per cent said they know someone whose sext message was shared with people it was not meant for.
The anonymous, online survey was conducted by Community Legal Information, and aimed to better understand the use of sexting among Island youth.
More than 700 people between the ages 12 and 25 participated while the survey was up, from mid June to July 31. Project manager Sarah Dennis called it a surprisingly strong response, with concerning results.
"Folks really aren't understanding the practical application of consent," said Dennis.
"We really need to get people understanding how to employ consent when they are sending or receiving sexts."
Focus on healthy relationships
CLI is working with a youth advisory committee to address some of the issues revealed by the survey, she said.
They are discussing questions such as why youth feel pressure to engage in sexting, what does consent mean, and the emotional impact of forwarding intimate images without consent.
"They want to talk about healthy relationships. They want to talk about what does consent mean, you know, how to create boundaries, that sort of thing," said Dennis.
There has been a lot of focus on the legal implications of sexting, she said, but that information is not changing behaviour.
The youth advisory panel is telling CLI that youth want to talk about sexting, but they do not want to be talked down to, Dennis said.
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