Urgent need for new laws on ‘sexting’

Last week The Age reported on submissions to the State Parliamentary Inquiry into Sexting.

NEW laws are needed to cover the scope of “sexting” — the sending of sexually explicit images via mobile phone, email and posting online — health and legal experts have urged state MPs.

Despite the increasing prevalence of sexting among adults and children, they warned of widespread community ignorance about the potential harm of the practice, which can range from young people sending pictures of themselves to a love interest, to rapists filming their victims.

Access submissions to the Inquiry here. Read the entire article from The Age here.

The enemy within

Steve Wheeler, an Associate Professor of learning technology in the Faculty of Health, Education and Society, at Plymouth University has written a blog post on sexting, or ‘the enemy within’.

As he explains, most parents are more concerned about ‘stranger danger’ when it comes to their children using social media and the internet. But it is what children and young adults are generating themselves that is often missed.

the worrying trend of ‘sexting’ – the sending and receiving of sexually explicit messages and images via mobile devices – seems to be something that children in school accept as a part of their daily life.

Research on this topic by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (UK) can be found here. Please note that this was a small project in terms of participants, but it does give a view of what some children and young adults are feeling and doing in terms of using social media.

Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Sexting

Wikipedia defines sexting as ‘the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between mobile phones’.

The Victorian Law Reform Committee is now calling for submissions for its inquiry into sexting.  Yesterday’s Age contained this advertisement:

This is an opportunity for parents, students, teachers and the wider community to have their say. Please note that most submissions are public, but on application, submissions can be made without identification. Submissions close Friday 15 June. See more information on the Parliament’s  Inquiry into Sexting site.

Read previous iQ articles on sexting:

Call for young Victorians to have their say on sexting

The Office of the Victorian Privacy Commissioner’s Youth Advisory Group (YAG) is asking young Victorians about sexting. The YAG’s online survey asks about their experience of sexting and seeks young people’s views on whether or not sexting by people under 18 should be illegal and, if so, what the legal consequences for a young person should be.

The Victorian Parliament has recently asked the Law Reform Committee to undertake an inquiry into sexting, including “the appropriateness and adequacy of existing laws.” The YAG is developing a submission to the inquiry.

All young adults are encouraged to have their say. Access the link to the survey here.

A sext out of context

Mia Freedman’s article on sexting was published in The Age recently:

Imagine if every dumb, embarrassing and potentially illegal thing you’ve ever done was captured permanently for the public record. In words and sometimes in pictures. Imagine if every journalist, partner, employer, police officer, teacher, political adversary, administrator, public servant and anyone else with an internet connection (including your children or future children) had access to that information in the time it took to punch your name into a Google search. For the rest of your life.

Fortunately for most of us, the idiotic behaviour of our school days endures only in anecdotes, told at reunions or after a few drinks.

But what if they weren’t just funny stories? What if all the stupid decisions we made back then lingered like a virus, infecting every aspect of our future?

Welcome to the reality for children and teens, where everything they do online has the ability to seriously screw with their lives forever.

Read the entire article here.


When a group of high-school friends post a rumour about a rival it sparks a chain reaction that leaves no one untouched. Cyberbullying, sexting, filmed fights and police action ensue — will these friends avoid being tagged forever?

Developed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s Cybersmart program,Tagged is recommended for use with students aged 14 and over.

Tagged is supported by lesson plans and compelling character reflection interviews. It explores themes of personal and peer safety and responsibility that are crucial to maintaining positive online behaviours and digital reputation into adulthood.

It is recommended that Tagged form the basis of discussions with teenagers.

See also:

These pages give more information about Tagged and how to use it effectively.

Teens learn true dangers of cyberspace

Recently The Age published a report on what students are across in term of cybersafety. These include:

  • ‘stranger danger’
  • rejecting requests from randoms on Facebook

What they’re not across includes:

  • Google Images taking snapshots of any Facebook and/or Flickr photos that are not set to private
  • ramifications of sexting
  • implications of photo tagging

cybersafety tips