Sexting: the Moral Panic of Our Time

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Sexting is the moral panic of our time.
A moral panic is the intensity of feeling expressed in a population about an issue that appears to threaten social order. Something commonly known as ‘Sexting’ is sending nude or semi-nude photos to another through mobile phone. More and more often, teenagers are sending sexually explicit images of themselves to their partner or friends for varying reasons. Females are using their ‘sexuality to survive’ (Christie Barron; Dany Lacombe, 2005) The ideal role model of girls as they grow up has changed, the image of women turning into a mother and a housewife has changed and has presented a threat to our social stability. Popular culture and increased pressure is the driving force behind the destruction of polite society and has turned Sexting into the moral panic of our time. Those who participate in Sexting are part of a deviant subculture and are considered folk devils and they take pleasure in breaking the rules. The recent alarm of Sexting, and crimes committed by females are the product of a moral panic that has had an impact on social, educational and legal policy making. Sexting, whether it be sending or receiving these sexually explicit messages, is a criminal offence. (Rosemarie Lentini, 2011) Most of those who participate in Sexting are aware that they are at risk of criminal prosecution but this does not stop them as society is changing and adolescents are willing to take more and more risks as time goes on. With the rise of sexting, and the decrease in values and morals among young people it is suggested that polite society will go further downhill as time progresses on. Sexting is the moral panic of our time, there should be legal constraints put onto them, and those who have participated in Sexting should be prepared to deal with the possibility of criminal prosecution. Sexting is the moral panic of our time and needs to be dealt with.


The ideal role model of women is changing and popular culture is the source of power behind sexuality being a dominant idea in adolescents currently. Teenage magazines are becoming more and more explicit with a growing number of models being dressed in inappropriate outfits therefore placing increased pressure on teenagers to look this way, and to act as they imagine these women would act, despite the fact that these women are just models. This changing culture and society are the force of social decline and changing role model and ideals of how women used to be portrayed. The social norms have changed since the ideal woman was seen as a homemaker and mother because of these scantily dressed women and images along the same lines. This is making the adolescent members of society seem to think that ‘sexting’ nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves to their partner and/or friends is acceptable because of the young society they are a part of. The general idea is that young people are doing this as a reaction to force or they're brainwashed by what they see as accepted in the culture of youth today. In-fact sexting is against social norm and for the females who participate in sexting, they are now seen as folk devils, and they are portrayed as being deviant. The females who now see sexting as the new trend are using their ‘‘sexuality to survive’ (Christie Barron; Dany Lacombe, 2005) they are using the method of sexting to gain power over the boys and also to seem ‘hip’ (Christie Barron; Dany Lacombe, 2005). Females feel that if they have power of males then they have equality as males have had power for so much longer than women have. Many females are rejecting the ideal woman as a homemaker and mother and are emulating their male counterpart. With women and adolescent using their sexuality as a means to create power over men, the normalization of this increasing trend shows that we need a reality check on the state of morality in our society.

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