Two major surveys involving more than 3,000 children suggest that four out of ten have received or seen an indecent image via a mobile, reports the Daily Mail.
Professor Andy Phippen helped draw up one of those surveys. When he spoke to groups of adolescents in schools, he said, the term 'sexting' met with blank faces.
"But when I described what it was," he added, "these youngsters, aged 14 to 16, said: "Oh that, yeah, it happens all the time."
A serving police officer seconded to the survey, Alan Earl, has given talks in scores of secondary schools about the dangers of children swapping explicit photographs of themselves.
"Boys ask girls to take pictures of themselves naked, and the girls do it to please them. Not all girls, but those who have boyfriends: they think their pictures are not going to be shown."
"After my talk, at almost every school, a teacher will approach me and confide that they've already had to deal with an incident like those I've described," Earl added. More typically, the naked images sent around phones are static poses, usually of girls standing up or lying down.
"It is girlfriend/boyfriend stuff, but then the relationship breaks down and the boy sends the pictures on," said Alan Earl.
Certainly, children are growing up in an increasingly sexualised world, but the ease with which these images can be spread among a peer group is terrifying.