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Teen ‘sexting’ concerns unfounded

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Only around 2.5 percent of teens engage in “sexting,” or sending sexual images by phone or email, and few of these would violate pornography laws, a study showed Monday.

The study appearing in the journal Pediatrics found that concerns on the practice of sexting, which came to the forefront after a scandal involving a US congressman, appeared to be overblown.

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“Lots of people may be hearing about these cases discovered by schools and parents because they create a furor, but it still involves a very small minority of youth,” said lead author Kimberly Mitchell of the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes against Children Research Center.

The researchers surveyed 1,560 Internet users ages 10 through 17 about their experiences with sexting — appearing in, creating, or receiving sexual images or videos via cell phone or the Internet.

The study found that 2.5 percent of youth surveyed have participated in sexting in the past year, but only one percent involved images that potentially violate child pornography laws with images that showed “naked breasts, genitals or bottoms.”

In a second study, researchers discovered that in most sexting cases investigated by the police, no juvenile arrest occurred.

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There was an arrest in 36 percent of the cases where there were aggravating activities by youth, such as using the images to blackmail or harass other youth. In cases without aggravating elements, the arrest rate was 18 percent.

The second study was based on a national sample of 675 sexting cases collected from law enforcement agencies. The study also found that the very few teens who were subjected to sex offender registration had generally committed other serious offenses such as sexual assault.

“Most law enforcement officials are handling these sexting cases in a thoughtful way and not treating teens like sex offenders and child pornographers,” said lead author Janis Wolak of the research center.

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In both studies, researchers found that sexual images of youth rarely were widely distributed online as many parents, youth, and law enforcement fear.

In the teen survey, 90 percent of the youth said the images they created did not go beyond the intended recipient.

Even in the cases where the images came to the attention of the police, two-thirds of the images stayed on cell phones and never circulated online.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Google tells workers to avoid arguing politics in house

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Google on Friday told employees to focus on work instead of heated debates about politics with colleagues at the internet company, which has long been known for encouraging people to speak their minds.

Updated workplace guidelines for "Googlers" called on them to be responsible, helpful, and thoughtful during exchanges on internal message boards or other conversation forums.

"While sharing information and ideas with colleagues helps build community, disrupting the workday to have a raging debate over politics or the latest news story does not," the updated guidelines stated.

"Our primary responsibility is to do the work we?ve each been hired to do, not to spend working time on debates about non-work topics."

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Industry guidance touts untested tech as climate fix

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Draft guidelines for how industry fights climate change promote the widespread use of untested technologies that experts fear could undermine efforts to slash planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, AFP can reveal.

The guidance appears to encourage high-polluting sectors to take the cheapest route towards limiting global warming, potentially decoupling emissions cuts from the temperature goals outlined in the Paris climate agreement.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a global industry-driven non-profit group comprising more than 160 member states, has produced new draft guidance on climate action for businesses.

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Google says YouTube campaign targeted Hong Kong protests

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Google on Thursday said it disabled a series of YouTube channels that appeared to be part of a coordinated influence campaign against pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

The announcement by YouTube's parent company came after Twitter and Facebook accused the Chinese government of backing a social media campaign to discredit Hong Kong's protest movement and sow political discord in the city.

Google disabled 210 YouTube channels that it found behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the Hong Kong protests, according to Shane Huntley of the company's security threat analysis group.

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