Sexting: Do you or don’t you?

29 Nov

With the click of a button, the three of us were able to reach 400 people. We created a Facebook event and invited around 400 of our friends to take a survey. The event was called “SEXTING SURVEY, please help us!!!!” and soon enough 75 people said they were attending. Within two hours, 30 people had already taken the survey. A week later, people were still taking the survey and we ended with 116 responses. The basic (free) account on Survey Monkey only allows you to view the first 100 responses before asking if you want to upgrade with the message, “WOW, YOU HAVE A POPULAR SURVEY!”

Not only can we share every detail of our lives and what embarrassing things we did at a party last weekend, but through Facebook we’re able to let people know about upcoming events and get their opinions on important issues, like sexting. New media is making our lives more and more fast-paced and we are able to find out about everything that’s going on in our worlds almost instantly. We know what our friends are doing at all times; we even know what famous people and random strangers are doing at all times. Even though everyone chooses how much they want to share on the Internet, just having a Facebook or Twitter is putting yourself out there. You never know what your friends are going to post about you, which all of their friends will see, who can tell their friends, and on and on until your secrets spread like wildfire. Privacy is a thing of the past.

Taking all of this into consideration, it is no surprise that today people talk openly about formerly taboo topics like sex. “Sex sells” and is literally everywhere. It’s in music, movies, TV shows, websites, and all different types of media. Everyone wants to talk about it and hear about it. However, talking about it through media is a very different concept than the so-called phenomenon of sexting. According to Wikipedia, Sexting (a portmanteau of sex and texting) is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photos electronically, primarily between mobile phones. Sexting takes all of this talk about sex to the next level because it is a private conversation between two people that can easily become public.

Many people are willing to talk about sexting, whether it is anonymously through a survey or on video. It is like talking about something that was brought about by new media through more forms of new media. The rapid growth of the sexting trend was no doubt caused by the invention of smartphones like the BlackBerry and iPhone. It is simple and fast to send pictures and videos via text. Whether it is appropriate or acceptable is another issue. In recent years there have been countless cases of legal ramifications that involve sexting. When teenagers distribute photos of themselves or other teenagers it counts as child pornography. Celebrities have also been caught in scandals that involve texting lewd messages or leaking of nude photographs. Once you click send, there is no telling who is going to see the “private” message you sent.

Our results show that there are many definitions for sexting and reasons people do it.

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