Those sending photos over Snapchat believe they will disappear without consequences so they feel more secure about sending them.There have been several cases where teens have sent photos over these applications, expecting them to disappear or be seen by the recipient only, yet are saved and distributed, carrying social and legal implications.

A 2009 study claims that 4 percent of teens ages 14–17 have claimed to have sent sexually explicit photos of themselves.

Fifteen percent of these teens also claimed to have received sexually explicit photos.

Young adults use the medium of the text message much more than any other new media to transmit messages of a sexual nature.

As a result of sexting being a relatively recent practice, ethics are still being established by both those who engage in it and those who create legislation based on this concept.

In addition, of those who had sent a sexually explicit picture, over a third had done so despite believing that there could be serious legal and other consequences if they got caught.

Students who had sent a picture by cell phone were more likely than others to find the activity acceptable. note: "The news-worthiness of [the University of New Hampshire study] derives from [their] figure [2.5%] being far below (by a factor of 5 or more) the prevalence rates reported in the previous surveys.

In a 2008 survey of 1,280 teenagers and young adults of both sexes sponsored by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 20% of teens (13-20) and 33% of young adults (20-26) had sent nude or semi-nude photographs of themselves electronically.

Additionally, 39% of teens and 59% of young adults had sent sexually explicit text messages.

Even though users believe their photos on Snapchat for example will go away in seconds, it is easy to save them through other photo capturing technology, third party applications, or simple screenshots.

These applications claim no responsibility for explicit messages or photos that are saved.

However, while technically accurate, the 2.5% figure is actually rather misleading.