Sextortion and The New Culture of Public Shaming

fmgbain Flickr via Compfight cc

A few decades ago the idea of public shaming was basically limited to three things the newspaper, TV, or radio; as mentioned on Monica Lewinsky’s Ted Talk. Today, public shaming can be everywhere, especially if you are the one targeted. With social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Instant Messaging etc. it is no wonder that the battle to get away may seem endless. Then there is the topic of kids. The access to the internet and all it contains is easier to access than ever before. All you have to do is enter in what you want to look up into a search engine and almost instantaneously you get results.

Then incorporate the topic of kids. The access to the internet and all it contains is easier to access than ever before. All one has to do is enter in what one want to look up into a search engine and almost instantaneously you get results. One can see how easily this may become a problem especially with the sexualization of children, teens, adults, etc. that is apparent in the marketing, and media, these days. As mentioned on the documentary Sext Up Kids (there is sensitive content), this market is targeted directly at kids and their desire to look ‘older’ and ‘sexier’. Younge children go from wanting to be the ‘prettiest princess’ to the ‘hottest girl’ in a number of years. It is the effects of marketing, such as these, that pressures and influences are surrounding our students at ages as low as nine to things such as watch porn, sext, or a variety of other things. Ultimately, those acts when noticed online can lead to detrimental effects on children, teens, and adults through things like sextortion and public shaming. Which makes it so crucially important to address the situation if it ever occurs. Teachers and parents must teach their students and children what is appropriate/not appropriate, but most importantly how to be safe online.

As educators, it is our responsibility to be aware and to teach kids about the dangers of being online and what protective measures we need to take to ensure our students are being safe online. In order to do this, we must talk about subjects that are ‘taboo’ or uncomfortable to talk about. But if we don’t have these difficult conversations with our students we are basically telling them to deal with it on their own. It is our responsibility to teach our students to make smart decisions, that it is okay to make mistakes (article thanks to Kim Thue’s, twitter handle @thuekim), and how to be safe online.

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