ACMA Gets Active Over Sexting

  • 63,000 brochures distributed
  • 47 percent of teenagers regret sending sexts
  • Teachers see sexting as growing risk for teens

Schools across Australia are adopting the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s new lesson plans on ‘sexting’, claims the government body.

Greg Gebhart, Senior Education Trainer for the ACMA , said the plans provide students with realistic scenarios and educate them about the social and legal consequences of ‘sexting’—the sending of sexual messages, photos or videos, online or using a mobile phone.

“Over the last month more than 63,000 ‘sexting’ brochures have been distributed, and over three hundred copies of the ACMA’s Cybersmart ‘sexting’ lesson plans have been downloaded,” said Gebhart. “The popularity of these educational resources suggests that ‘sexting’ is a top of mind issue for schools and teachers and is perceived as a growing risk for teenagers.

“Sharing sexually suggestive images or text messages may be seen as innocent flirting or amusement, but ‘sexting’ can have serious personal, social and legal consequence. The ACMA’s lessons are easily adaptable in the classroom, free of charge and part of a suite of engaging interactive resources which educate students about cybersafety issues.  An adolescent’s complicated relationship with their body image, emerging sexuality and personal identity is difficult enough to navigate without being made public in a graphic way.”

Research conducted by the Pew Research Centre shows that 18 per cent of 14-17 year olds who own a mobile phone said they have received a ‘sext’ from someone they know. The same study showed that 47 per cent of teenagers regretted sending some of the messages they had sent.