Sexting is here to stay. Despite its legal and social implications, the sending and receiving of nude images and texts between teenagers is becoming increasingly routine. Some students participate voluntarily, while other students report being pressured into sending 'nudes'.
Collective Shout WA co-ordinator Caitlin Roper recently asked female students what messages they would like to pass on to to their male peers. One student responded "Stop pressuring us for nude pics". Another responded with "If we reject your request to send a sexual image, please don't stop talking to us."
Sexting is a challenging issue for teachers, parents and organisations committed to ensuring the safety of teenagers. How can we effectively communicate the dangers of sexting and reduce the harm caused by the practice?
The app Send This Instead is a creative approach to this complex issue. It aims to give young people a voice when they are under pressure to send intimate images of themselves via text message or online. In their words, "We asked all the funny people we knew, 'What would you say if someone asked you to send images you didn't want to?' We took their answers and made posters and developed this app. The posters are witty, sarcastic and meant to help get the point across - using humour as a strategy." These posters can be sent as images to the person requesting a nude image.
One poster reads "That would violate both my data and dating plans. Neither of which include you." Another, "I can't send you nude photos, but I'll forward this to my dad and you can try asking him for some."
Check it out for yourself and pass it on to your students. Maybe it will help to start a conversation about the issue with your students. Or it might just give them a voice to resist the social pressure to hit send.
Did you know that we address the issue of sexting in almost every one of our presentations? We are committed to shaping safer communities and want to empower students to make smart choices when it comes to online communication in relationships.Click here to find out more about the programs we offer for WA senior school students.
Do you need help addressing a sexting issue right now? This CyberSmart resource provides loads of helpful and practical information.