Sexting at a Young Age: The Emergence of Unanticipated Social Networks

Sexting at a Young Age: The Emergence of Unanticipated Social Networks

Richard Chalfen (Temple University, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3187-7.ch004

Abstract

This chapter applies a social psychological approach to contemporary dilemmas with personal photographs used in “sexting” by young people. Specifically, Urie Bronfenbrenner's (1917-2005) Ecological Systems Theory is used to examine a collection of agents and agencies attracted to sexting. The theory identifies five types of nested environmental systems responsible for human development namely microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem. This chapter examines how an unexpected diverse collection of people now play roles in controlling sexting as a social and technological practice. These include parents, teachers, peers, school administrators, police, judges, lawyers, software developers, the ACLU, media and sports celebrities, social scientists, the news media, among several others. Specific attention is given to how these systems and roles interact as a result of sexting practices and the attention given to visual issues. The author seeks to offer a “larger picture” and offer a sense of where and how pieces of the visual, cultural, and social fit together.
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Setting The Stage

The following few pages prepare readers for an original approach to the significance of sexting in young people’s lives. Sexting will be discussed through the lens of ecological systems theory and an ecological model of child development that clarifies the potential influence of a broad range of factors impinging on sexting as social behavior. This section is especially relevant to readers with limited awareness of sexting by providing several basic contours of recent and contemporary sexting relevant to personal, social, political and cultural factors referenced in the following pages.

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