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Sexting in 2020 it’s Time to Demand Tech Companies Change

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What’s Sexting?

A few sexy images or a steamy text conversation is a great way to spice up the day between lovers.

Sexting is sending another person a sexually explicit image or message via any technological means.

It’s predominantly associated with mobile phones and nude pics sent between lovers. They’re certainly not uncommon, with 20% of teens 13-19 sending them and 33% of adults 20-26.

So if most of our sexting is between consenting people in relationships,

what’s the problem with sexting? It’s privacy!

Dr. Amy Adele Hasinoff , a communications researcher, highlights our privacy issue with technology is certainly not a new debate.

We’ve been here, and we’ve solved it.

History has show us many social issues have been born from technological advancement, but it also shows us industry has also stepped forward and solved many of the social issues which have occurred. The automobile industry and safety is a perfect example of such an instance.

If we have expected industry to assist in solving the social issues their technology enables, why are we choosing to send the ‘just don’t do it’ message to our young consenting adults when it comes to sexting?

Rather we should be demanding tech companies implement features to ensure consent levels prior to image sharing. It’s not like industry hasn’t come to the party to solve social issues before.

Many believe creating privacy around digital items is impossible, but it’s not. You can not purchase an e-book and just share it around, your doctor can not share your digital medical files, nor can your bank release your financials to the web.

Banning all sexting to solve privacy issues is like banning all dates to solve date rape, it’s illogical.

As Dr. Amy Adele Hasinoff argues in the TED talk below, the approach we have to sexting is all wrong. We should be focus our efforts on providing digital privacy via consent, rather than discouraging and criminalising it.

Our love stories, short and long, have played out with the assistance of the media of the era for as long as time. Love letters written and passionate sculptures erected to show our lust and love. Dr Hasinoff brings a great love story of 1886 to our attention, where a boy met a girl via the telegraph, and eloped.

One of the barriers to providing consent to images on social platforms, is the business models are built on the ‘share’. They want you to share, like, and engage, and the tech companies want to make this as easy as possible to do.

The second barrier is the lack of practical sexting laws and the will to implement them.

In the US sharing nude images of persons, even yourself, under the age of 18 is considered child pornography. An American paper from 2012 found people aged 17 and under made up 7% of all arrests for possession of child pornography in the US, this is double the 2000 figures.

The third barrier is our social tolerance of people who disseminate personal images without consent.

Yes sexting has it’s risks, but so does anything fun, such as sky diving or trying something new! Serious privacy violation shouldn’t be one of the risks of sexting, especially when we have the capability to install technology to prevent it.

 

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