Book Review: Risk and Harm in Youth Sexting Culture by Dr Emily Setty

Book Review for Risk and Harm in Youth Sexting Culture by Dr Emily Setty

Technology wasn’t covered much when I took my sex education training 10 years ago, yet individuals,  and particularly youth were using it to help explore their sexuality. Whilst I have also trained in areas of pornography and digisexuality most of the resources and information has been purely on adult inpretretation. Dr Setty’s book covers the influence of sexting and youth culture from actually asking youth their opinion.

Dr Setty has gathered througher information from her own research on youth and sexting and has also complied extensive information and data from other people’s research to help form a book that is an excellent resource for anyone who is working with or studying youth sexting. Not only if the information she provides backed from accredited research and studies, she put together how to handle youth and texting in a positive way to help reduce risk and harm that can be associated with it.

She also helps highlight that the medias perception of youth and sexting is mostly based on moral panic rather than fact, and could be doing more harm than good.

The book goes through the legal implications that youth are faced with sexting and how it can even be hindering young people’s natural progression of sexual exploration when forming their sexual identity during their teenage years.

The main issue with sexting and youth itself doesn’t seem to be young people exploring their own bodies, but the possible negatives that can happen when privacy is breached and images are shared unconsensually. Dr Setty focuses on youth sharing images rather than explicit text and I found it interesting how her research showed young peoples struggle with how their self-expression can even be considered as illegal and deviant even if they are sending consensual images to other exploring youth.

It’s refreshing to read about sexting in an honest and researched manner, rather than what you commonly come across via the media which is focusing on fake news and scaremongering. This book would be helpful to those who have to write about sexting and youth in the media, as it has actual facts.

I’d like to see more further research done in this area in the future, particularly covering those who identify as non-binary. But I understand the struggle Dr Setty must’ve had getting young participants involved with needing consent from parents and schools needed, as well as many only just starting to explore their sexuality and body at this age meaning that gathering participants is going to be limited on such an intimate study on those at this age.

The best thing about the book, is everything is backed and referenced. There are pages of referencing to other studies, some backing Dr Setty’s findings and a few challenging them.

Dr Setty ends the book with a well throughout action plan on how to tackle youth and sexting to help reduce risk. The book isn’t about stopping youth from sexting unlike other approaches that focus on abstinence, but rather Risk And Harm In Youth Sexting Culture helps you make actions to help youth reduce any associated possible risks and also how to deal with them if they do encounter them.

Who would benefit from this book: Journalists focusing on youth and sex and relationships, sex educators, sex and relationship therapists, and sociologists looking into youth culture and sexting, researchers on youth sexuality.

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