Teenagers need our support, not criticism, as they navigate life online

phys.org | 5/9/2019 | Staff
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Imagine you're a 14-year-old girl on the train on your way home from school, when out of nowhere a "dick pic" appears on your phone. Surprise! You've been cyber flashed.

It's a form of harassment that didn't exist even a few years ago, and highlights the fast-evolving digital world our teenagers now have to manage (along with all the more regular challenges of nearly being an adult).

Cyber - Involves - Images - Strangers - AirDrop

Cyber flashing involves sending unsolicited obscene images to strangers via AirDrop or Bluetooth on your smartphone.

Unlike old-fashioned flashing, in which the culprit is standing right in front of you, cyber flashing is anonymous. The sender positions themself in a shopping center, sporting ground, or other public space and sends the photo to anyone within a 3-meter radius—it could be a teenager, an adult or even a 3-year-old holding mum's phone. The victim will likely search around to identify the sender, but ultimately it is a guessing game; it could be anyone in your field of vision.

Harassment - Messages - Photos - Online - Messages

Like other online harassment such as posting threatening messages, photos or videos online or repeatedly sending unwanted messages, the aim of cyber flashing is to humiliate the victim, and incite fear. The anonymity of the communication exacerbates this.

In the case of the 14-year-old girl, she would have no opportunity to identify her harasser, to seek justice, or even gain an apology for their actions. This will likely leave her feeling powerless, anxious and potentially fearful of future communications by the harasser.

Digital - Devices - Others - Example - Practice

Digital devices have massively influenced how, when, where and why we communicate with others. For example, it is almost standard practice now for many of us to send a series of digital messages over the course of the day, recounting where you are and what you are doing. It may be to your partner, friend, or as social media status...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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