As promised, a brief rant. Recently I came across an article about a new and (as far as I can tell) primarily abstinence-based anti-sexting campaign in Windsor-Essex (#KeepYourPrivatesPrivate). One goal of the initiative is prevention – to keep young people from sexting by educating them about the potential long-term consequences (and therefore preventing them). Obviously, I’ve simplified the messaging but that seems to be the gist. This is a laudable effort and in the campaign media, one of the scenarios does address non-consensual distribution of someone else’s images which is nice. My first concern is about the focus of the campaign. Certainly, harmful effects could be avoided if no one ever sent nudes – but when the central focus is on abstinence (and therefore the image-sender), it can be a quick jump to victim blaming when things go awry [see Albury & Crawford’s (2012) analysis of the Megan’s Story campaign] and also runs the risk of shutting down conversations about how to navigate online relationships. For example, discussions about boundaries, coercion, and consent in digital spaces, healthy sexual expression, readiness for sexual activity (even in online spaces), and technology-facilitated sexual violence. This relates to my second concern, which is that some studies suggest young people are already aware of the potential risks/consequences (though some may not be fully aware of legal consequences), devoting resources to educating them about consequences is probably not the most effective way to prevent harm and allow young people to flourish. In order to better support young people, we have to make space for difficult conversations instead of shutting them down.
I have a lot to say on related topics – but I’ve tried to pare down my message to the most useful objections. Now, onto the resource!
Dr. Creswell (via Sage) has a brief video tutorial on research questions in qualitative research. How to form them, frame them, and use them appropriately. I also think this would be a great clip to include when teaching research methods since qualitative methods often get so little love. Click here to check it out!
References & Related Reading (non-exhaustive):
Albury, K., & Crawford, K. (2012). Sexting, consent and young people’s ethics: Beyond Megan’s Story. Continuum, 26(3), 463-473.
Bond, E. (2011). The mobile phone = bike shed? Children, sex and mobile phones. new media & society, 13(4), 587-604.
Draper, N. R. A. (2012). Is your teen at risk? Discourses of adolescent sexting in United
States television news. Journal of Children and Media, 6(2), 221-236.
Strohmaier, H., Murphy, M., & DeMatteo, D. (2014). Youth sexting: Prevalence rates, driving motivations, and the deterrent effect of legal consequences. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 11, 245-255.