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How to practice safe sexting

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    People have been using media to talk
    about sex for a long time.
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    Love letters, phone sex, racy polaroids.
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    There's even a story of a girl who eloped
    with a man that she met over the telegraph
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    in 1886.
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    Today we have sexting,
    and I am a sexting expert.
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    Not an expect sexter.
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    Though, I do know what this means,
    I think you do too.
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    I have been studying sexting since
    the media attention to it began in 2008.
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    I wrote a book on the moral
    panic about sexting.
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    And here's what I found:
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    most people are worrying
    about the wrong thing.
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    They're trying to just prevent
    sexting from happening entirely.
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    But let me ask you this:
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    As long as it's completely consensual,
    what's the problem with sexting?
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    People are into all sorts of things
    that you may not be into,
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    like blue cheese or cilantro.
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    Sexting is certainly risky,
    like anything that's fun,
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    but as long as you're not sending an image
    to someone who doesn't want to receive it,
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    there's no harm.
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    What I do think is a serious problem is
    when people share private images of others
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    without their permission.
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    And instead of worrying about sexting,
    what I think we need to do
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    is think a lot more about digital privacy.
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    The key is consent.
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    Right now most people are thinking
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    about sexting without really thinking
    about consent at all.
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    Did you know we currently
    criminalize teen sexting?
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    It can be a crime because it counts
    as child pornography,
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    if there's an image of someone under 18
    and it doesn't even matter
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    if they took that image of themselves
    and shared it willingly.
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    So we end up with this
    bizarre legal situation
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    where two 17-year-olds
    can legally have sex in most U.S. states
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    but they can't photograph it.
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    Some states have also tried passing
    sexting misdemeanor laws
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    but these laws repeat the same problem
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    because they still make
    consensual sexting illegal.
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    It doesn't make sense
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    to try to ban all sexting
    to try to address privacy violations.
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    This is kind of like saying,
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    let's solve the problem of date rape
    by just making dating completely illegal.
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    Most teens don't get arrested for sexting,
    but can you guess who does?
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    It's often teens who are disliked
    by their partner's parent.
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    And this can be because of class bias,
    racism or homophobia.
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    Most prosecutors are smart enough
    not to use child pornography charges
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    against teenagers but some do.
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    According to researchers
    at the University of New Hampshire
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    seven percent of all child pornography
    possession arrests are teens,
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    sexting consensually with other teens.
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    Child pornography is a serious crime,
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    but it's just not
    the same thing as teen sexting.
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    Parents and educators are also
    responding to sexting
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    without really thinking
    too much about consent.
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    Their message to teens is often,
    just don't do it.
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    And I totally get it,
    there are serious legal risks
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    and of course,
    that potential for privacy violations.
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    And when you were a teen,
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    I'm sure you did exactly
    as you were told, right?
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    You're probably thinking,
    my kid would never sext.
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    And that's true, your little angel
    may not be sexting
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    because only 33% of 16 and
    17-year-olds are sexting.
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    But, sorry, by the time they're older,
    odds are they will be sexting.
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    Every study I've seen puts the rate
    above 50% for 18 to 24-year-olds.
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    And most of the time,
    nothing goes wrong.
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    People ask me all the time things like,
    isn't sexting just so dangerous, though,
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    like you wouldn't leave your wallet
    on a park bench and you expect
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    it's gonna get stolen
    if you do that, right?
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    Here's how I think about it:
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    sexting is like leaving your wallet
    at your boyfriend's house.
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    If you come back the next day
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    and all the money is just gone,
    you really need to dump that guy
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    So instead of criminalizing sexting to try
    to prevent these privacy violations,
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    instead we need to make consent central
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    to how we think about the circulation
    of our private information.
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    Every new media technology
    raises privacy concerns.
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    In fact, in the U.S. the very first
    major debates about privacy
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    were in response to technologies
    that were relatively new at the time.
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    In the late 1800s, people were
    worried about cameras,
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    which were just suddenly more portable than ever before, and newspaper gossip columns. They were worried that the camera would capture information about them, take it out of context and widely disseminate it. Does this sound familiar? It's exactly what we're worrying about now with social media and drone cameras and, of course, sexting. And these fears about technology, they make sense because technologies can amplify and bring out our worst qualities and behaviors. But there are solutions. And we've been here before with a dangerous new technology. In 1908, Ford introduced the Model T car. Traffic fatality rates were rising. It was a serious problem -- it looks so safe, right? Our first response was to try to change drivers behavior, so we developed speed limits and enforced them through fines. But over the following decades, we started to realize the technology of the car itself is not just neutral. We could design the car to make it safer. So in the 1920s, we got shatter resister windshields. In the 1950s, seatbelts. And in the 1990s, airbags. All three of these areas: laws, individuals, industry came together over time to help solve the problem that a new technology causes.
Title:
How to practice safe sexting
Speaker:
Amy Adele Hasinoff
Description:

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Video Language:
English
Team:
closed TED
Project:
TEDTalks
Duration:
14:25

English subtitles

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