Introduction Social media has created opportunities for children to gather social support online (Blackwell et al., 2016; Gonzales, 2017; Jackson, Bailey, & Foucault Welles, 2018; Khasawneh, Rogers, Bertrand, Madathil, & Gramopadhye, 2019; Ponathil, Agnisarman, Khasawneh, Narasimha, & Madathil, 2017). However, social media also has the potential to expose children and adolescents to undesirable behaviors. Research showed that social media can be used to harass, discriminate (Fritz & Gonzales, 2018), dox (Wood, Rose, & Thompson, 2018), and socially disenfranchise children (Page, Wisniewski, Knijnenburg, & Namara, 2018). Other research proposes that social media use might be correlated to the significant increase in suicide rates and depressive symptoms among children and adolescents in the past ten years (Mitchell, Wells, Priebe, & Ybarra, 2014). Evidence based research suggests that suicidal and unwanted behaviors can be promulgated through social contagion effects, which model, normalize, and reinforce self-harming behavior (Hilton, 2017). These harmful behaviors and social contagion effects may occur more frequently through repetitive exposure and modelling via social media, especially when such content goes “viral” (Hilton, 2017). One example of viral self-harming behavior that has generated significant media attention is the Blue Whale Challenge (BWC). The hearsay about this challenge is that individuals at allmore »
Let's Talk about Sext: How Adolescents Seek Support and Advice about Their Online Sexual Experiences
We conducted a thematic content analysis of 4,180 posts by adolescents (ages 12-17) on an online peer support mental health forum to understand what and how adolescents talk about their online sexual interactions. Youth used the platform to seek support (83%), connect with others (15%), and give advice (5%) about sexting, their sexual orientation, sexual abuse, and explicit content. Females often received unwanted nudes from strangers and struggled with how to turn down sexting requests from people they knew. Meanwhile, others who sought support complained that they received unwanted sexual solicitations while doing so—to the point that adolescents gave advice to one another on which users to stay away from. Our research provides insight into the online sexual experiences of adolescents and how they seek support around these issues. We discuss how to design peer-based social media platforms to support the well-being and safety of youth.
- Publication Date:
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- Let’s Talk about Sext: How Teens Seek Support and Advice for Online Sexual Interactions
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- 1 to 13
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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