The problem with sexting….

So here I am, a 40-something lady reminiscing about my youth. I clearly remember the day when a friend and I were poking about her parents’ bedroom and we found a full frontal, naked shot of her mum tucked away in her bedside drawer. True enough we shouldn’t have been in there (and we certainly should not have been looking in her bedside cabinet) but we were, and we did. It clearly had an impact on me and I am glad to say my friends mum never knew that we found the picture. I always keep this firmly in mind when discussing sexting.

It reminds me that sexting isn’t new; taking naked, semi naked and provocative images has been happening for as long as we have had the equipment to capture the pictures. The big difference is that in ‘the olden days’ we had to take 12, 24 or even 36 shots and send the film off for developing. If you were lucky the film would come back without big ‘X’ stickers over the nudey bits.. but I think most importantly you had 2 weeks grace where you could decide if sharing that photo was a wise idea.

Polaroid cameras were a kind of ‘in beween’ where a naked pic could be taken and printed straightaway but it was still just a photo and so sharing it was difficult, but it did herald a shift in the kind of pictures we could take without third party involvement.

One of the problems with sexting is that we just don’t seem to consider the consequences. Nowadays we can point, click and share in a matter of seconds which means we don’t have that processing time, that thinking time – is this really a good idea…?

Today I had an amazing day at West Nottinghamshire College working with students aged 16 – 18+, we were discussing sexting, the law, and mental health. Most students seemed confused that at 16 you can have sex but you can’t watch it (lively debate) and with parental consent you can get married but not share intimate pictures with your husband or wife.

To be honest, I think the thing that surprised students the most was the discussion around how much information we leak without realising it, in particular when we looked at the EXIF information that can be embedded in digital photos.


I love working with students…

For in depth staff training around dealing with sexting incidents please visit my training page