Teenagers Debate “Sexting” Practices and Its Implications

    Protecting Tico youth from online dangers

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    Through memes and speaking in the language of social networks, boys and girls who use Instagram in our country discussed “sexting” and its implications for them, including sensitive issues such as legal consequences and gender inequality.

    The debate was promoted by the Sexteen campaign of the PANIAMOR Foundation, which reached 9 out of 10 people reported on Instagram in Costa Rica between 13 and 17 years old, through the account @ememescr.

    But what is sexting?

    It is the practice of sending and receiving messages with sexual content, including images, through technological means. Its name comes from the mixture of the English words “sex” (sex) and “texting” (text messages); and it is a widespread practice among peers in people of all ages.

    The Sexteen campaign included PANIAMOR to better understand the interactions of minors with digital technologies and, in turn, improve their dialogue processes with other adolescents to raise awareness about the consequences of this practice.

    Sexteen conceives the practice of sexting as part of the exploration of sexuality and the lives of many people, that is, without judging, much less attacking the adolescents who do it or have done it at some point.

    Dangerous situations and Safe use

    “Although the risk of being exposed to dangerous situations is always latent when we interact with technologies, as a society we must promote empathetic and horizontal information spaces so that they learn to make a safe use that not only allows them to prevent and respond faced with manifestations of violence online, but also that it opens opportunities for them to be and feel part of a community”, explains Mariam Carpio, director of the Fundación PANIAMOR’s Technological Culture Program.

    In this way, through memes and direct information, dialogue was fostered and a debate was generated in which both girls and boys gave their opinions about rights on the Internet and about the responsibilities and consequences of their actions – share their own images and of other people -. Relationships and the responsibility of those who trust and those who receive trust was one of the most discussed topics.

    The Sexteen campaign was developed through the Instagram page @ememescr by the Programa Cultura Tecnológica de Fundación PANIAMOR, together with students from the School of Collective Communication of the University of Costa Rica and was funded by The Fund to End Violence Against Children.

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