Underage sexting is far more common that previously thought, and most minors are unaware of the legal consequences.  

A new study released by Drexel University shows more than half of those surveyed had sexted before.

"Fifty-four percent of our sample reported sending a sext message when they were under the age of 18. And that figure is, by far, the highest figure that we've seen in the reported literature on sexting," Researcher Dr. Dave DeMatteo said. 

DeMatteo says more than 60 percent aren't aware that harsh legal penalties can result. He calls the combination scary and disturbing.  

Those who were aware of the potential consequences were far less likely to have reported sexting, which DeMatteo says could have important policy implications.  

Girls in the sample reported sending sexually explicit photos twice as often as boys