The Unmentionables: Sexting & Surfing
New national sexting numbers that have sparked headlines all over the Web about higher-than-ever sexting rates among US youth actually show that 90% have not sent naked photos to someone. Sammy, a San Francisco 16-year-old cited in the Associated Press’s coverage and one of the 10% of youth who have sent “sexts,” told the AP that he probably wouldn’t do it again knowing that sexting could bring felony charges. I think all the above says a lot about the importance of 1) educating teens about this (see ConnectSafely’s tips for starters ) 2) reporting surveys accurately, and 3) applying some critical thinking to breaking news. [In CNET’s coverage, ConnectSafely.org co-director Larry Magid points out that the MTV/AP study of 1,247 14-to-24-year-olds “confirms what many Internet safety experts have been saying for the past several months: Young people are far more likely to experience problems online from their peers or from their own indiscretions than from adult predators.”]
Wow. Youth are exposed to some serious behavior online (and hell, why not through TV in there, thank you HBO & Cinemax), and there are not enough outlets of education ready & at hand for guidance for youth to understand what they’re emotionally experiencing when confronted with this aggressive/stimulating (enticing?) information they’ve surfed across… That same information affects behaviors on the playground, at lunch, in the halls at school, in games, on the phone, in texts, etc. A friend of mine had some great insights on this topic as well. She said,
This goes back to a lot of the content you can see across the net (obviously), phones (sharing or net), tv (anything from over sexualized prime time to HBO/Cinemax), to books (mangas, etc). There’s a lot of curious information that teases and excites youth made readily available. How they consume that, and then repurpose on their own? That’s what we will continue to encounter for some time.
I haven another blog in prep-mode for this conversation that I’m trying to work through.
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