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Sexting includes explicit text, and nude or seminude personal pictures or videos captured on a cell phone or digital camera and sent via personal texts, e-mails, and instant messages. From: Encyclopedia of Adolescence, Sexting has become part of the teen sexual landscape; it is not rare behavior, although it may not lead directly to STIs and pregnancy, there are potential damaging ramifications of sexting, such as loss of privacy, reputation, and possible criminal prosecution.
As such, sexting should be included in more comprehensive sexual health education programs. Currently, the emphasis is on the legal and criminalized side of sexting and cyber safety. While this is important, adults should also talk to teenagers about sexting in a noncriminalized way to highlight that there may also be social and relationship consequences. It is also important that any health professionals are determining the real prevalence of sexting among that population, rather than relying on statistics, and including discussion around sexting with teenagers.
Sexting refers to the transmission of sexually explicit material, such as images and video, via a messaging app. The primary criminal concern is when underage children and teenagers are involved. Of broader concern, although not criminal in most jurisdictions, is sexting in other environments, such as in the workplace or between colleagues, when the images are unwanted. Unwanted sexting might have administrative implications, such as harassment, in workplace and employment contracts. Digital technologies have enabled individuals to write and send hurtful and threatening messages, harass others by sending or posting embarrassing videos and images, therefore causing emotionally damaging experiences.
The real-world harm to the victim can include feelings of fear, humiliation, shame and anger. Abigail M. Judge PhD, Anthony D. The popular press coined the term sexting around , and early popular coverage on the topic was tilted toward a presumption of danger due to inflated but widely publicized prevalence estimates, and several high-profile cases involving a disproportionate legal response. Since these reactionary beginnings, a peer-reviewed literature on the topic has developed. We will review the literature in this area to aid psychiatrists in their assessment of adolescent sexting behaviors.
Research on teens' motivations to engage in sexting suggests that most episodes of sexting are best understood as romantic or sexual interest during a time that heightened sexual interest, drive, and activity is developmentally typical. It is nevertheless important to consider teens' motivations in producing a sexted image, their intended use of such images, and the implications of this behavior for psychosexual well-being.
Perhaps the greatest possible misuse of adolescent sexting is the unwanted forwarding and dissemination of images by one member of the sexting dyad. A national study of Internet users aged 10—17 years reported only a small proportion of youth had forwarded youth-produced sexual images. A study surveyed a self-selected sample of youth aged 18—25 years who had been the targets of threats to expose sexual images.
Scenarios involving sextortion were diverse. One common scenario included an aggrieved former partner threatening to distribute images that were consensually exchanged during the relationship, either to force reconciliation or humiliate the respondent. A second common sextortion scenario involved someone met online requesting a sexual image from respondents or another source used to demand more images or sexual interactions.
Respondents described systemic factors that worsened their distress, including a lack of criminal laws addressing this phenomenon, perceived blame by law enforcement, and jurisdictional issues related to the Internet. Another potential harm of sexting is the perpetuation of sexual double standards among teens. Sexual socialization theory posits that frequent exposure to consistent themes about gender and sexual behavior can affect a young person's developing sense of what is expected for males and females, including subsequent behavior.
A qualitative study of males and females aged 12—18 years reported that females felt judged harshly whether they sent sexts or not e. Female respondents describe the practice as risky and potentially shaming of sexual reputation i. Although early media reports about sexting emphasized the possible legal risks for teens, arrests and prosecution stemming from adolescent sexting are rare. One study described cases of sexting handled by law enforcement in — A convenience sample of state prosecutors who handled such cases identified variables associated with prosecutors bringing charges against juveniles.
This category of sexting should therefore be considered statistically and also developmentally anomalous, and a reason for more concern and specialized intervention, whether psychoeducational, clinical, or some combination. In sum, motivations for and the emotional impact of sexting will vary for the individual involved and should be assessed rather than assumed. In light of these findings, a combination of educational, legislative, and diversion strategies should replace a primarily law enforcement or prosecutorial response for the majority of situations where minors engage in consensual sexting.
Research on the most effective components of Internet-related educational programming recommends instructing skills related to the problem of interest e. With respect to sexting, we suggest that education target components of sexuality development related to adolescent sexting: sexual decision-making e. In light of adolescents' nascent prefrontal cortex development, it is important for education about sexting to for the major differences in teens' decision making under conditions of relative calm versus emotional arousal.
Education should also emphasize research-based estimates of sexting to counter the misperception that all teens engage in this behavior. Popular media has promoted the narrative of adolescent sexting as highly prevalent, 5,6 which research does not support. Caroly Pataki MD, Current social media platforms contribute to adolescent notions of sexuality by providing access to a wide range of sexual information and erotica.
Sexual material is easily accessible online, with the potential for live sexting , or sharing sexual photos or videos. Video games, Internet chat rooms, and Web sites provide ample options for adolescents to explore sexual interests. An international survey of to year-olds from 30 countries in Europe and North America reported that electronic media communication led to increased ease in communicating with the opposite sex.
The use of social media to influence sexual attitudes and sexual risk behaviors in the short-term continues to be explored. Williams, S. This article on rape and sexual assault focuses on assaults that involve completed or attempted physical contacts against an adult age 18 or older and thus our detailed discussions do not include child sexual abuse or other sexual acts e. We focus attention on the social context of rape because this context frames the mental health responses of victims and service providers. Approaches to understanding interventions for victims of rape may follow standard protocols of diagnosis and treatment some of which are discussed in this volume , but these protocols must be considered in the context of how victims and their support systems as well as the community and justice system respond.
Rape is recognized as a crime across the United States. Although many women experience such assaults, this scenario does not describe the typical rape experience. Rape by intimate partners is more common than stranger rape Bachman and Saltzman, ; Finkelhor and Yllo, ; Randall and Haskell, ; Russell, and women who are or have been married are more likely to be raped by their husband than by a stranger Russell, In spite of these data, many continue to hold inaccurate beliefs about the nature of rape, when and to whom it happens, and its impact on the victim.
A fundamental task for adolescents is to adjust to their developing sexuality, in particular, their increased sexual drive and interest in sex. It is therefore not surprising that youth use interactive digital technologies, such as the Internet and cell phones, to deal with their changing bodies, to address their growing interest in sex, and to construct their sexual selves. Frequent sexual communication among adolescents began in chat and continued with newer technologies such as mobile phones. In the environment of teen chat rooms, both developmental and gender differences appeared.
The more protected environment of monitored chat contained less explicit sexuality and fewer obscenities than the freer environment of unmonitored chat; in turn, the monitored environment attracted younger participants and more females than unmonitored chat. Phones are being used by teens for sexual exploration via the exchange of sexually suggestive content sexting. Given the vast amount of content that is readily accessible online, it is not surprising that youth take advantage of online contexts such as Web sites and bulletin boards for sexual exploration such as when searching for sexually-related health materials.
At the same time, online contexts also provide easy exposure to sexually explicit materials pornography. Some of this exposure is unintentional or accidental. Extrapolating from research on sexually explicit television and film, this accidental exposure can lead to harmful developmental consequences. Longitudinal data suggest that among adolescents, exposure both intentional and unintentional to sexually explicit material is associated with more permissive attitudes, greater preoccupation with sex, and more casual sexual exploration.
Research is needed to understand whether exposure to pornography has differential effects for different subgroups of teens e. One final consideration is self-generated, or user-generated, child pornography. Typically, the young person takes a picture of himself or herself with a mobile phone camera or other digital camera , or has someone else take the picture; this is then stored as a digital image and transmitted via mobile phone as a text-message, photo-send function, or electronic mail.
Additionally, the subject may use a mobile phone to post the image to a social networking website. The definition does not focus exclusively on the young person who makes the image but also on those juveniles in the distribution chain who may coerce production, or later possess, distribute, or utilize such images. These are all different activities, only some of which would be deemed illegal in many jurisdictions.
There are many recent cases in the United States where young people have been prosecuted for taking photographs of themselves while engaging in lawful sexual activity, and the harms that might follow from a possible child pornography conviction. The argument is that such efforts might be seen to be generally futile, and that the future and its values belong to those whose lives lie mostly ahead of them. However, there does appear to be a legitimate concern to distinguish between sexting as a serious offense which poses a danger to others, and when it is simply the product of a legitimate sexual relationship.
John D. Melville, John D. McDowell, in Forensic Odontology , Violence within an intimate relationship to include dating can begin at an early age preteens 12 years of age and younger and might involve adolescents boys or girls having reached puberty but not yet reached full maturity or teenage ages 13 through 19 boys and girls. Dating violence can also take the form of sexually explicit texting or posting explicit photographs online through electronic and social media.
Cyberbullying and sexting can have serious sequelae to the victim of these actions including severe depression, suicidal ideations, suicide attempts, suicide, low self-esteem, poor academic performance, and participating in other risk-taking behaviors that can result in sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy Rice et al. Self-reports of violent behaviors indicated that there was hitting or scratching see Fig. Youth who are victims of dating violence are more likely to experience emotional symptoms like depression and anxiety and to engage in unhealthy behaviors like using alcohol, tobacco, use of illicit drugs, participation in antisocial behaviors, and to have suicidal ideations Rice et al.
In addition to the ly described issues related to violence during dating, other forms of secondary risk associated with dating violence included rape or consensual sexual intercourse protected and unprotected , attempted suicide, and physical fighting Rice et al. Figure 7. A young woman's facial injuries and patterned injury on upper right arm described by the victim as biting activity that occurred during a sexual assault.
Note injury patterns suggestive of defensive injuries on right hand and forearm. Dating or acquaintance sexual assaults not only occur during the teenage years but can also extend into the college and postgraduate experience. These data are certainly of great concern to any parent sending a family member to college. While maintaining the college student's sense of autonomy, parents and family members should be aware of the common emotional or physical indicators of abuse in these young adults.
Photograph of patterned injury of suspected bitemark seen in Fig. Marko Cabric, in Corporate Security Management , Sexual harassment and mobbing are not classic security issues; when reported, they are mostly dealt with by human resources in companies or by other appointed functions. However, many times, sexual harassment and mobbing are not reported; as such, they often depend on security to notice and report them. Although both are issues that have to be properly and addressed in a timely manner to protect the well-being of employees, if not addressed, they can lead to security risks such as sexual assault, physical assault, retaliation, and numerous other issues.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission  defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature including harassment based on sexual orientation.
In a workplace, sexual harassment can occur between one colleague and another usually male to female or by a superior who is using his influence or position to obtain a sexual favor or to degrade the subordinate of the opposite sex mostly women. Sexual harassment can be public or secret and can occur in various forms such as sexting text messages with sexually explicit content , e-mails with sexual content, and verbal harassment.
It can occur with the purpose of simply humiliating or as a sexual advance. Sexual assault occurs when one person is forced into a sexual act without consent. Sexual assault includes any kind of rape vaginal, anal, or oral as well as any touching and kissing without consent. Mobbing is the emotional abuse of an employee by a co-worker, superior, or subordinate. The purpose of mobbing is to discredit someone through rumors, disrespect, humiliation, intimidation, and social and work isolation, and eventually to force this person out of the workplace.
As security professionals who should protect the employees in a company, and because of moral obligations, we are required to notice the s of workplace bullying and request action from competent functions in a company. Victims of mobbing frequently experience depression, severe stress even posttraumatic stress disorder , and other psychological and health disorders.
If not addressed properly, apart from aggravated health of the victim, mobbing can lead to retaliation by the victim against the bullies, including physical assault. However, mobbing is also known to be a common trigger for substance abuse such as drug and alcohol abuse , and in extreme cases it may even lead to self-mutilation and suicide. In many countries there are anti-mobbing laws aimed at protecting victims and punishing abusers, as well as punishing companies in case they were aware of mobbing and failed to stop it.
Screen time has the potential to disrupt the lives of children during a time already fraught with developmental challenges. The goal of screening for screen time is to reliably identify areas that are both potentially harmful and changeable. There have been several tools developed to create uniformity when screening. Other tools were developed and tested before screen time, the way we know it today existed. This addresses the major causes of morbidity and mortality among adolescents. Whatever the screening tool is used, we suggest that all adolescents be screened for unsafe screen time.
Discuss with patients the types of media used and media content.Sexting contacts
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A guide to avoiding the hazards of sexting