Media scientist Peter Nikken in BN DeStem: "Sexting should be part of sex education"

Mediawetenschapper Peter Nikken in BN DeStem: "Sexting hoort

It often seems so innocent: sending a sexy photo or video of yourself to your boyfriend or girlfriend. But what happens when your significant other turns into your ex?... Unfortunately, this type of photos and videos often end up on the internet, and in extreme cases they can even lead to sextortion (i.e. blackmail with nudity photos). Especially amongst youngsters sexting is popular, but what is the reason for that?

 

BN DeStem recently published in article about sexting and the reasons that explain the occurence of this modern day phenomenon. The newspaper spoke to different experts on the topic, including Peter Nikken. Why is it that youngsters continue sending pictures of themselves to others, despite the potential dangers this might have? According to Peter, the reason is simple: "Because they can. The technology allows it, the possibilities are there and if you're that age and in love you simply do not think about the risks. It happens on an impulse," says Peter. And even though many young people might deep down know about the risks of this behaviour, they often underestimate them. That is why Peter Nikken believes that sexting should become part of sex education in schools.

Linda Duits, also working as a media scientist but for the University of Utrecht, agrees with Peter Nikken that there should be more attention for the possible dangers of sexting. According to her, this is very much a matter of norms and values: young people should realize that sharing such photos cannot be seen as normal behaviour. Although she also thinks that it shouldn't be exaggerated how many people are actually sexting. Although the numbers on this are not entirely clear, Linda Duits estimates that around 15 percent of adolescents have ever engaged in sexting. Although they are not the only ones. The national hotline for sexting also receives many calls from people above 18 years old.

Finally, the newspaper also spoke with sexuologist Astrid Kremers. According to her, it is important that people start to openly talk about this topic. Astrid: "I can imagine it's fun and exciting to receive a video. But the response that follows shouldn't be: hahaha, I am going to send it to my friends, but : stop!".