It seems like something an adult would come up with:
“Sexting is bad, mmkay? So why don’t you shut down that naked selfie request with one of our amusingly captioned pics?” That’s exactly how Zipit, by Childline UK, works.
According to Childline:
Zipit helps you get flirty chat back on the right track. It’s packed with killer comebacks and top tips to help you stay in control of your chat game.
– Save images onto your device and share them with your friends!
– Share images on Facebook, Twitter, BBM or via email
– Find out how to deal with a sexting crisis
– Get advice to help you flirt without failing
– Call ChildLine or save the number to your phone
I feel a little bad poking fun at something that is addressing a very serious issue, but sexting is a bigger problem than inappropriate “flirting”. It’s a whole culture of fitting in and being noticed, validated and judged by peers.
In a time when thousands of very young women around the world are turning to YouTube, willingly, to ask the trollosphere if they are “pretty or ugly” and 22% of teen girls in the USA report sharing “nude or semi-nude pictures or video of themselves” electronically, I’m pretty sure this isn’t just a result of the recipients of a sexting request not being able to come up with a witty response.
A study of American college students found that despite the media and parental warnings, young people just aren’t that worried about sexting. Many responded that “sexting doesn’t seem to be as risky as the media makes it out to be,” and some reported that “sexting makes one feel sexy,” “sexting makes one excited,” and “sexting makes it easier to flirt.”
We social marketers continue to address sexting with dire threats of how shameful it will be to be exposed. But perhaps what we really need to do is get to the bottom of why so many young people, especially girls, feel the urgent need to be told they are “sexy” by peers and strangers.
If we could figure that one out, I’d be the first to offer my services.