From Media Abstinence to Media Production: Sexting, Young People and Education

  • Kath Albury
  • Amy Adele Hasinoff
  • Theresa Senft
Chapter

Abstract

‘Safe Sexting: There’s No Such Thing’. Or so says a 2009 information brochure produced by the New South Wales (Australia) Department of Education. Just as decades of research demonstrates that abstinence-only sex education is at best ineffective and at worst results in negative health outcomes (Alford 2007), there is no reason to suspect that policies and pedagogies that focus on sexting abstinence will be any more effective. But what are the alternatives? This chapter draws on recent research and pedagogical practice to move away from ‘just say no’ approaches to sexting and toward a contextualized understanding of young people’s media practices. The authors draw on recent research on representations of sexting in mass media, educational campaigns, and the law (Hasinoff 2015); empirical research seeking young people’s responses to ‘sext education’ (Albury et al. 2013); and new media pedagogies (Senft et al. 2014a) to recommend alternative approaches to shame and fear-based sexting education. Throughout, we maintain that an educator’s goal should not be to eliminate sexting practices, but instead to teach young people to promote the same affirmative consent standard for picture sharing that they would for other forms of sexual behavior. In the pages that follow, we offer some new pedagogical practices for teaching these principles, based on student-image production exercises and case study assignments, and drawing on research traditions such as photovoice.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Open Access This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kath Albury
    • 1
  • Amy Adele Hasinoff
    • 2
  • Theresa Senft
    • 3
  1. 1.School of the Arts and MediaUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of CommunicationUniversity of Colorado DenverDenverUSA
  3. 3.Liberal StudiesNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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