I’ve just finished a draft of my chapter on sexting for a textbook, Communication in Question: Competing Perspectives on Controversial Issues in Communication Studies. My chapter will appear alongside another position piece arguing: “no, teens should not have the right to sext.” Read my side (“yes, they should have the right”) here. This is what it’s about:
While many legal and educational commentators believe they are protecting youth from victimization by making sure sexting is illegal, I argue that they are actually exacerbating the problem. This is because when sexting is illegal for everyone, it lets abusive sexters off the hook. One of the ways that abusive sexters avoid blame is because of the idea that no teenager should be creating sexting images in the first place. This leads to the problematic consensus in mass media and law that everyone involved in sexting—regardless of whether their behavior was consensual or abusive—is equally guilty of wrongdoing. Affirming that teenagers have the right to consensually create and share explicit images helps to protect them from peers who might maliciously distribute their private photos.
Comments are welcome, I would love to hear what you think of this piece.