The Influence of Technology on Privacy Boundary Management in Young Adults' Sexting Relationships: A Communication Privacy Management Perspective

The Influence of Technology on Privacy Boundary Management in Young Adults' Sexting Relationships: A Communication Privacy Management Perspective

Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3187-7.ch005
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Sexting (the sharing of sexual messages, images, and videos via communication technologies) emerged from the development of new communication technologies (CTs). As such, CTs are a vital component of sexting, and young adults continue to have more platforms to choose from to use for sexting. This chapter uses a relational approach to technological affordances and communication privacy management (CPM) theory to understand how technologies influence sexting among young adults. Empirical evidence is provided about how the affordances of a platform moderate the relationships between self-disclosure, partner trust, privacy, and risk. As such, an additional type of mediated dyadic privacy boundary is established where shared information can belong to one or both individuals and the medium used for sexting. Finally, the moderation results imply that the features of the platform matter in young adults' decisions to sext since the features can afford them more privacy, more trust, and less risk.
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Communication Privacy Management (Cpm)

New media, or the various ways people communicate online or through information and communication technologies, create new outlets for sexual expression in the digital age; with this comes the need for young adults to manage their privacy. CPM explains how individuals share and manage their private information, as Petronio (2002) explains:

[CPM] represents a map that presumes private disclosures are dialectical, that people make choices about revealing or concealing based on criteria and conditions they perceive as salient, and that individuals fundamentally believe they have a right to own and regulate access to their private information. (p. 2)

As such, CPM depends on privacy boundaries to show “where private information resides as well as the way information is regulated and adheres to a dialectical framework” (Petronio, 2011, p. 8). According to Petronio (2011), three elements make up the structure of CPM to understand how individuals regulate their private information: “privacy ownership (boundaries of private information), privacy control (privacy management engine), and privacy turbulence (privacy regulation breakdowns)” (p. 8). In other words, individuals create rules to manage their private information, and if the rules fail, privacy turbulence occurs.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Medium Trust: The trust or faith an individual has in the features of the platform to not share or access their private information with anyone other than the intended recipient.

Partner Trust: The trust or faith an individual has in their partner to not share their private information (i.e., sexts) with a third party.

Risk: The potential consequences associated with the sharing of private information (i.e., sexts), including the possibility of having private information shared with a third party.

Affordances: The features of a platform (including permanence, editability, associations, and visibility) that make one platform more ideal in comparison to others for certain types of social situations or interactions. (Also referred to as social media affordances and technological affordances.)

Sexting: The creation and sharing of sexual messages, images, or videos via communication technologies.

Communication Privacy Management: CPM deals with how individuals manage shared, private information.

Relational Approach to Affordances: The theory that a platform’s features have their own meanings relative to the social behavior the feature is used for.

Message Permanence: A type of [social media] affordance that refers to the length of time a message (i.e., sext or text) is available for the recipient to access.

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