The sexting-study news cycle

I’m quoted in a CBS News article today.

Hasinoff cautions parents not to worry excessively about kids who spend a lot of time texting. “I don’t know that texting a lot is a particular problem,” she said.

“We need to think of cellphones as a way that kids communicate. You’d never say kids are talking to their classmate too much at recess, or that they used 1,000 words at recess, and that’s excessive,” she added.

… The study says parents may wish to “openly monitor” their kids’ cellphones. But Hasinoff said “that sends the exact wrong message.”

Parents should talk about the importance of privacy and serve as role models, she said. “We want to be teaching kids to respect the privacy of other kids and develop the sense that privacy really matters,” she explained.

Kids should also learn about the need to gain consent for any kind of sexual behavior, including sending someone sexually explicit photos, she added.

This article also illustrates the way that research gets translated into headlines. The study itself was careful to mention that different sexting behaviors were correlated with both riskier sexual behavior and condom use. And the authors noted that the number of young people who were sexually active was too small to draw any conclusions about that. But there it is in the headline, a conclusion: “In middle school, sexting linked to riskier behavior.”

Mobile phones and the 4th Amendment

The Supreme Court ruled today that cell phones cannot be searched without a warrant. It’s a relief, especially since the decision was unanimous. But did the police officers who searched phones without warrants in the first place really think that their actions were constitutional? Were they just hoping to get away with it? Indeed there are some exceptions to the 4th Amendment, which are explained here.

There are so many ways in which the privacy of our mobile phone content is violated. But maybe this ruling is a step towards getting back on track and reigning in the NSA.

“Sexting’s perverse double standard: Why girls are set up to fail”

There’s a great new article on sexting up at Salon.com today by S E Smith. Perhaps I am biased because the author mentioned my Sexting as media production article, but I think it’s a great overview of the sexism in the ways we tend to think about sexting.

Smith concludes:

The real problem isn’t sexually explicit messaging, which is simply a normal expression of adolescent sexuality. It’s how we’re raising our boys, and what we’re telling them about girls.