Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Sexting = Spin the Bottle?

I have a feeling this is going to be all over the news (or maybe just in my head it will be) -- according to UPI, Dr. Peter Cumming, an associate professor at York University, references sexting as a modern day spin the bottle or strip poker.

While I appreciate Dr. Cumming's attempts to normalize the behavior of sexting and place it in developmental context (goodness knows I have tried to do so, too), I think it would be more accurate to say that sexting is like playing spin the bottle or strip poker in front of several cameras. Or maybe even the whole school. Including the cafeteria workers. Because, you never know who is going to get those pictures, do you?

Also, with spin the bottle and strip poker, more than one person is involved. Therefore when young people were getting caught in those cases, they were not alone. In the sexting incidents I am aware of, many involve one young person whose compromising image was sent to his/her (usually her) peers en masse. Big difference to have some friends with you while going through the humiliation, shame -- and potential trouble with the law. Quite another to be the only one.

Actually, I think letting young people tell us the differences and similarities between strip poker and sexting would be very interesting. Could open up a great dialogue about the pros and cons of certain types of sexual experimentation.

Yet while I criticize Cumming's words, I do appreciate this sentiment from him: "What I would say to anyone is to take a deep breath, think in context, and use common sense."

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