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Posted on April 11th, 2014, by

What is sexting and how is it currently legislated for in Australia? The video Megan’s Story was one of the initiatives put in place by ThinkUKnowAustralia to address sexting. This video, however, has been heavily criticised. Describe some of this criticism and the implications this has for wider discussions of gender and sexual violence.

Sexting is an offensive action of transmitting sexually explicit images online, usually via mobile phones. The term emerged in the early 2000s along with the development of mobile devices and facilitation of easy image sharing online and via mobile devices. Sexting may involve children and promote children pornography. Sending and receiving sexually explicit messages is legally banned in Australia. Therefore, sexting is virtually illegal but law enforcement agencies of Australia have difficulties with control over sexting and its prevention. At the legal level, sexting is prevented, if it involves children pornography or other pornographic materials, The Commonwealth law, Part 10.6 of the Criminal Code Act of 1995 makes it an offence to access, transmit, publish, possess, control, supply, or obtain child pornography. Similarly, Queensland under s 210 of the Criminal Code 1899, New South Wales uenr s 91H(2) of the Crimes Act 1900, and s69 and 70 of the Crimes Act 1958 in Victoria have similar child pornography legislation ().

However, the role of government agencies and public organisations is very important for the prevention of sexting. In this regard, the video Mary’s story released by ThinkUKnow Australia focused on the case of Mary, a teenage girl, who was involved in sexting. The video helped to raise the public debate over the problem of sexting, although the video raised the criticism because of presumable gender discrimination that could be traced in the video. The video depicted the girl as the victim of sexting that gave gender-related implications concerning sexting, as if girls are the major subjects of victims of sexting.

At the sane time, in spite of the controversy of the video Mary’s story released by ThinkUKnow Australia, the public attention to the problem of sexting is very important because often parents underestimate the risk of sexting and the possible exposure of their children to this problem. The information available to parents concerning sexting can help them to educate their children and to prevent the emergence of such a problem in their family. In addition, parents can learn effective strategies of how to prevent sexting and to secure their children from the threat of sexting. Furthermore, the public attention and the public debate over sexting can help to enforce the legislation concerning sexting because some states did not pay much attention to the problem of sexting, until the moment when the problem of sexting became too serious to ignore it.

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