The Way We Think About Teen Sexting is All Wrong (Video)

June 7, 2017 by Justin Lehmiller


“The problem is not sexting, the issue is digital privacy. And one solution is consent.” – Dr. Amy Adele Hasinoff

Teen sexting is an issue that parents and politicians alike are increasingly worried about. The message they’ve been sending to teens has been pretty uniform: don’t do it. Of course, a lot of teenagers do it anyway—and, unfortunately, some of them end up facing criminal consequences as a result. Sharing nude images of persons under age 18–even if they are images of yourself–falls under the category of child pornography. Sadly, more and more teens are being arrested for child porn for having done nothing more than engage in consensual sexting with their peers. Believe it or not, 7% of all arrests for possession of child pornography in the U.S. are among teens aged 17 and under—a figure that has more than doubled since the year 2000.

As Dr. Amy Adele Hasinoff argues in the TED talk below, this approach to teen sexting is all wrong. Rather than focusing all of our efforts on discouraging and criminalizing this activity, she suggests that we would be better served by thinking more about issues of digital privacy and consent. She also argues that we need to fundamentally change how we view victims of online privacy violations—rather than blaming, shaming, and punishing victims who had their private sexual images shared without their permission, we should give them our compassion instead. Check out the full video below to learn more.

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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