Sexting; sending someone explicit photographs or messages by phone. Basically, nude-y pictures and sex chat.
The term “sexting” was coined in 2004 in a Globe and Mail article “Textual Gratification”. Picture texts were invented in 2002, so it didn’t take long for people to work out that camera + text = good times.
Some people argue that humans have always used the latest advances to talk dirty and that sexting is just the latest technological advance. In the 1900s, where the fountain pen was the equivalent of the iPhone the letters of writer James Joyce to his wife were infamously graphic. Looking even further back in time could some of Shakespeare’s sonnets (love poems claimed to have been written for a secret lover) be early versions of the sext?
Let’s face it; sexting is fun! Apps like Tinder are now becoming the norm where strangers meet online and flirt.
For many sexting is seen as harmless; flirting without serious consequences or the risk of embarrassment if you’re rejected.
Another argument is that sexting is an act of empowerment; it’s your body and if you wish to send pictures then that’s your call.
In this regard perhaps Sexting could be categorised as “freedom of expression”?!
Within a relationship sexting can also be a good thing. If you’re long-distance or away from your partner it can be a good way of keeping things fresh and exciting. Steady now.
However, there are some cases where sexting can lead to bad situations. The amount of cases of sexting in schools is on the rise. The National Crime Agency says it receives one case a day of a child being involved in Sexting.
Children who don’t know the risks are vulnerable to exploitation. They are often pressured into sharing pictures by friends; and even by people they don’t know. Doesn’t sound like it’s just harmless fun?
And if the picture gets into the wrong hands and is shared around; it’s very difficult to either delete the image or even find out who’s been sharing it. Images can often spread very quickly.
Search “Sexting suicide” and you’ll find loads of stories about people who have taken their own lives. The reports say these suicides were due to embarrassment, shame and bullying due to pictures and texts being shared around their schools.
Most recently Ronan Hughes, a 17-year-old from Ireland, committed suicide last week. It’s being reported that he may have been tricked into posting images online and was being blackmailed. Of course, we will never know the many and complex reasons why these people chose to end their lives but these stories have added to concerns over Sexting.
A new campaign has been launched by the National Crime Agency to raise awareness of the dangers of Sexting. A series of videos aimed to help parents are being released. There are also versions of the website for all age groups giving them the information they need to stay safe. Get the knowledge at www.thinkuknow.co.uk
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