A fantastic new report on sexting from Kath Albury, Kate Crawford, Paul Byron, and Ben Mathews was released today. They offer a list of practical recommendations that legislators, educators, prosecutors, and parents would do well to take into account. Here are some highlights of the report’s excellent recommendations:
- We recommend that both educational and legal responses to sexting reflect ‘harm reduction’ principles rather than promoting abstinence from the production and exchange of digital photos between peers or from using social media.
- We recommend that sexting education be more focused on fostering ethical, respectful practices between intimate partners and within friendship networks.
- We recommend that educational strategies that address sexting, including information resources for adults, seek to problematise and challenge gendered double-standards in relation to concepts such as ‘provocativeness’, ‘self-confidence’, ‘responsibility’, ‘consequences’ and ‘reputation’.
- We recommend that educational strategies that address sexting, including information resources for adults, distinguish between non-consensual production and distribution of sexting images and consensual image sharing.
- These educational strategies should emphasise ethical frameworks, and recognise that sexting can be an expression of intimacy, rather than shaming young people for sexting. Framing sexual expression only as a risk does little to alleviate anxieties or feelings of shame that young people may experience in relation to their sexualities.