We’re failing young people by not discussing it

In recent years, Sexting has been a topic of intense debate amongst young people. In the same period, we have evolved our understanding of Sexting. Originally, Sexting was understood to be sending images of naked or semi-naked people. Now, it includes videos and texts with sexual content.

The statistics are varied, but they generally show that sexting among youth is quite common. According to reports, between 15 and 40% engage in this sexual behavior.

Even though Sexting is on the rise among young people, there hasn’t been much progress in implementing effective and efficient ways to monitor it without the legal system. Much research has focused on the Legal ramifications of a young person who engages in Sexting.

This is indeed important. However, we need more comprehensive educational programs to address the nuanced issues surrounding Sexting, such as consent and coercion. School guidelines should be strong and take into account the complexities and practicalities of Sexting. The current education programs fail to educate young people, and they are denied the chance to make informed decisions.

Sex education

The narrow curriculum reinforces gender stereotypes that influence young people’s perceptions of asexuality, eroticism, and consent. The curriculum strengthens gender stereotyping that affects young people’s views on sex and sexuality (a factor that is central in Sexting). Lucy Emmerson is the director of the Sex Education Forum in England. The charity campaigns for quality relationships and sexual education.

Modernizing education is necessary to reflect the changing attitudes and contexts of young people. It is important to challenge the misguided belief that children will learn too quickly if they are taught too much. This is especially relevant when discussing Sexting.

Sex education is often binary, traditional, and biological. Larisa Rudenko/Shutterstock.com

There has been some progress. The UK government has, for instance, made health education a compulsory part of the English school curriculum. The guidance on relationship education has been updated and reformatted in primary schools, as well as relationship and sex education in secondary schools. The new curriculum will be mandatory starting in September 2020.

According to the new guidance, pupils will be taught about safe online relationships. It is crucial to consider this when considering the cultural shift that has occurred in how youth communicate and engage in harmful behaviors. It includes online bullying, peer-to-peer grooming, and other unhealthy behaviors. Sexting is a concern. However, the amount of information that children receive about this issue is unclear. The guidance should explicitly address issues such as consent and peer pressure when discussing sexting among young people.

Let’s talk Sexting.

Reports found that younger people are now sexting. Children should be taught to recognize potentially harmful sexual behaviors, such as Sexting.

The content of these conversations can be tailored for specific age groups (for example, the NSPCC Talk Pants for young children). America and Australia have also noted the importance of educating children and youth about Sexting.

Consent is another important issue. Children should be aware of the different age restrictions for sexual activities. In the UK, for example, the legal age to send an image of a naked person is 18 years old. Sexting is a very common practice, and these age limits can be confusing for young people. Why can I legally have sex at 16 with my partner but not take a picture of me naked? While it is unlikely a 16-year-old would be convicted for taking a nude picture of themselves without proof, such as coercion or threats, there’s still the possibility that they could receive a criminal conviction.

Reports also suggest that a large proportion of Sexting occurs in relationships or as a tool for flirting. It is important to have a greater dialogue and educate young people about what consent is and how it can be expressed in relationships. Clarity on these issues will help to differentiate between “explorative” and “exploitative” behaviors among young people. This distinction is important.

Sexting is a complex issue for young people. It involves a variety of legal and social issues. The prevalence of Sexting among young people has led to blurred lines regarding consent, coercion, and “healthy sexual behavior.” It is not the solution. The implementation of limited and narrow education programs that will reinforce stereotypes and myths about sexual behavior is also not the answer.

It is important to educate and engage young people on a range of topics relating to sexuality, sex, and internet safety. They should also be taught how to form healthy relationships online and offline. It is important to start early discussing issues like Sexting.

Education cannot address all concerns, but it can help young people understand sexting, its key concepts, and consent.

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