Texas State University September 21, 2012 José R.

Agustina Universitat Internacional de Catalunya Barcelona, Spain

What is Sexting?
Sexting is a relatively recent practice engaged in by the young, and sometimes not-so-young…   It refers to the practice of sending or posting sexually suggestive text messages and/or images, including nude or semi-nude photographs, via cellular phones or over the Internet.   The word is a mix of sex and texting where the latter is meant in the wide sense of sending a text possibly with images.

Sexting’s prevalence   Prevalence’s ups and downs depending on its definition .

which has led to a new digital era and to a “digital divide” between digital native adolescents and their parents. which has evolved into new paradigms affecting education. (ii) the adolescent revolution. permissive way of thinking about sex..g.Hypotheses and explanations         Sexting as a natural derivation of three somehow intertwined. and (iii) the technological revolution. and moral values. contemporary revolutions: (i) the sexual revolution in the sixties and its implications (e. . parental roles and supervision levels. sense of privacy. promiscuity).

we only got a few correlations between some sociological trends and sexting behavior: Access and use of a webcam Family structure Privacy and modesty standards Promiscuity Moral beliefs and permissive attitudes Religion Approval of pornography .Correlations in 2012 study                 Among a list of hypothetical correlations.


Grown up digital generation   How do teens interact nowadays?   How do teens hang out. amuse themselves and flirt?   Think about differences with teens 20 years ago –they are unbelievevable!   What is the real impact on teens’ routine activities in terms of flirting?   What is the impact on parental supervision? .

anonymity. Pornography is increasingly pervasive. date and break up? Sexting as a by-product of promiscuity in a digital era? . How do teens flirt. moreover. Opportunities are increasing –e. more impulsive. Teens are permanently connected and exposed to peer pressure.Getting into trouble more easily             Tech habits make life riskier. lack of self-control and awareness (of risks).g. Relationships are more fragile (taboos) and..

Electronic evidence in romantic relationships? We are definitely crazy! However. . Bullies and sexters can multiply the effects of their cruel schemes –with just a click! The right to be forgotten is at the moment difficult to guarantee. “Regret it forever” motto. everything lasts forever or almost forever. environments and opportunities are conducive and really make the difference.And most importantly!             In a digital era.

“Regret it forever” .


UK.   Jesse Logan’s suicide (Cincinnati. Australia.   . grooming.   Dem Anthony Weiner’s resignation. 2009).A variety of painful consequences from sexting Vanessa Hudgens scandal and Disney.   Moreover sexting always leads to psychological distress. extorsion.   Most importantly it may also amount to a criminal case!   First cases: US.   Possible next steps: bullying. Canada.

in January 2009 after three girls sent sexually explicit photographs to three male classmates.Is charging minors with child pornography offenses suitable?           In 2007. Discretional power? Child pornography charges were brought against six teenagers in Greensburg. 32 Australian teenagers from the state of Victoria were prosecuted as a result of sexting activity. What is the main goal of Child Pornography Laws? Are they offenders or victims? Or both? What about parents or educators? . Pennsylvania.

(ii) recipients who delete the sext in a reasonable time. While this can be viewed as improper conduct. .Sexting Laws in Texas           Prosecutors across Texas were confronted with considerable dilemmas stemming from “normal” teen conduct. Several defenses available: (i) daters within 2 years of age (Romeo and Juliet defense). is it worth punishing so severely (felony)? Should they be prosecuted for child pornography charges? Are they child pornograhers? From 2011. the new offense is punished as a misdemeanor instead of a felony.

Judges can order offenders to complete classes (education) that teach “children” about the serious. victims may bring a civil action for damages. Otherwise.Sexting Laws in Texas (2)         Minors charged with violating the new law are ordered to appear in court with their parents. Sexting offenses can be expunged on or after a minor’s 17th birthday –this will allow them to apply for college without a criminal record. . long-term psychological effects sexting can have.


. Criminal act? Felony or misdemeanor? Risky socio-cultural habit! A risky pre-criminal situation to prevent. More research and prevention policies should focus in the future on Internet-initiated sexual victimization. Risk prevention policies.How to deal with sexting?               Normal behavior? Should sexting be considered a deviant behavior worthy of inclusion in the DSM? (Wiederhold 2012).

Sexting may occur at any age. or how long that harm lasts. 3. 2. 5. The same sexting picture may have a diverse impact on different recipients. . or it may be used as a means of encouraging (as a preamble to) further sexual access and activity. Little is known about how much harm sexting does to perpetrators or recipients. 4.Sexting principles and variations for future research 1. but both perpetrators and recipients are typically (eternal) adolescents. Sexting ranges widely in how much of the body is revealed. Sexting may be a sexual goal in itself.

Sexting usually results in no formal punishment. Sexting may be repetitive and hence akin to stalking.Sexting principles and variations for future research (2) 6. We do not know whether sexters respond to one another in a competitive fashion or act without regard to one another. 10. but it may also be sporadic. 9. Sexting may occur for nonsexual reasons. Any other principle? . Little is known about informal punishment. 7. 8. such as attention-seeking or to punish another person or to retaliate for sexting by someone else.

es .Thank you for your attention! Jose R. Agustina jragustina@uic.

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