While peer pressure is a normal part of the teenage experience, a new study revealed just how hard it is for girls to say 'no' when pushed by a boy to send nude pictures.
Researchers from Northwestern University analyzed nearly 500 accounts from teenage girls who described being pressured from boys and found that two-thirds were asked to send explicit photos in exchange for affection.
However, the findings show that the promise of affection turned to threats and harassment from boys if they did not comply, leading to 20 percent of the girls aged 12 to 18 giving in and sending nude photos.
None of the young women reported feeling 'relief' or 'benefit' from sending the photos and instead their compliance brought on negative self-esteem and fear of the photos being distributed.
Only 12 of the accounts revealed no negative backlash from saying 'no' to boys' requests, prompting a reoccurring cry for help by the girls who shared their stories with the question: 'What should I do?'.
Teen girls are pressureed from boys to send nude pictures and then face threats and harassment if they refuse, according to research from Northwestern University [file image]
Researchers analyzed 462 comments posted from 2010 to 2016 on MTV's website A Thin Line, a site aimed at stopping the spread of sexual abuse in the form of sexting and cyberbullying.
The comments revealed the confusion and internal battle teen girls experienced when asked to send nude photos and the different tactics boys used to coerce the girls into sending them.
'Teenage girls know the potential risks and are disinclined to do it, yet they continue to share the images anyway,' said study author Sara Thomas, a doctoral student in human development and social policy. 'They struggle to say no.'
Only eight percent of the stories showed a desire to send photos, however they justified sending explicit photos because of a desire to please or avoid negative consequences from young men.
The findings published in the journal Sexuality Research and Social Policy showed that in 22 percent of the cases, the girls considered sending photos as a way to obtain the attention and affections of boys they were interested in.
While they know that sending photos have immediate and long-term repercussions, the teens described boys pressuring, getting angry and threatening to break off the relationship in order to get pictures.
Twenty percent of the young women said they complied with the boys' requests and sent photos and 12 of them said they did so to maintain a relationship.
One 15-year-old girl wrote: 'I sent my boyfriend a naked pic