The focus group participants converged in the sentiment that parents and families play a central role in shaping teen values and decisions surrounding sexting and related issues. The participants also offered insights into both the necessity and challenges of engaging families and parents as part of our responses. Participants in the parent focus groups often lamented the laxness of standards and discipline exercised by other parents… we observed wide variation in participants’ level of atunement to, and understanding of, teenage social use of technology in general, and teen sexting behaviors in particular. Parents also regularly described teens’ use of digital communication technology as a source of tension and conflict, highlighting themes such as the costs of cellphone bills, challenges of enforcing and monitoring internet usage, and the negative and disruptive qualities of texting and social media.
Again, an open line of communication between parents and children is recommended as well as parents teaching their children about their expected values.
Andy Phippen, professor of social responsibility at Plymouth University, said sexting – where schoolchildren are encouraged to take explicit photographs of themselves and send to other pupils – was a problem in most schools, despite the study revealing that 89% of parents believe their child has not been touched by cyberbullying or sexting.
“There is a disconnect between how safe parents think they can keep their children online and their actual ability to do that,” Phippen said. “Those conversations are not being had – we have a hell of a long way to go on internet safety. In schools we hear teachers unwilling to talk to teenagers about sexual images because they worry about their jobs, schools unwilling to record instances of cyberbulling because they are worried about their Ofsted reports.”
These statistics are of grave concern and demand us all to delve deeper into the way our children are using the internet. Read the whole blog post here.
Earlier this month, The Age reported on the recommendations of the Victorian Parliamentary Law Reform Committee on the issue of sexting. The government has 6 months to implement the 14 recommendations which include:
The two major changes are that an offence be introduced for non-consensual sexting, and that young people have a defence against child pornography charges if the two people involved in the image – the subject, and the sender – are legally allowed to engage in sexual activity, and that ”they are not more than two years older than any minor depicted in that image”.
Snapchat is an app for iOS and Android that lets the user send a photo that can self destruct after a set period of time. Snapchat explains:
You control how long you want your friends to view your messages. We’ll let you know if we detect that they’ve taken a screenshot!
Recently I read in The Age that Cosmo magazine says Snapchat is the safe way to sext as the photos can’t be kept. However, as the snapchat FAQs explains, anyone can take a screenshot or screencast of your pic before it disappears. The only difference is you can control who sees your original upload and you can be alerted as to who has saved your picture.
However, once someone has saved your pic, there’s no way of controlling where and when it is reposted. Also as snapchat explains, without enacted privacy controls,
By default, anyone who knows your username or phone number can send you a message.
Trust and friendship – considering what is appropriate to share and with whom
How images or videos can be shared online and what websites they might end up on
What are the first things to do
Will you get into trouble
How to ask your parents for help
Will this affect your online reputation and your future
The ‘Where to seek further advice and support’ section will not apply as this resource was developed for the United Kingdom. However, the rest of the information is very useful for young adults and their parents. Download the resource here.
This research study investigates how communication technologies facilitate sexual violence against young people and what challenges this presents for the Victorian criminal justice system. Based on interviews with young people and professionals working with young people, it examines the effects of technology on the lives of young people, the interface between emerging communication technologies and experiences of sexual violence, and the factors that enable or hinder appropriate legal responses. Communication technologies such as online social networking sites and mobile phones are considered, and their use in identifying and grooming potential victims, blackmail and intimation, sexting, harassment, and pornography.