In doing research on last week’s pieceÂ on teens and smartphones, I came across a Yahoo post on “sexviding.” Yes, you read that right. It looks as though some folks are already blaming the downfall ofÂ civilizationÂ as we know it on the iPhone 4.
With the preponderance of SMS- and MMS-enabled phones, incidents of “sexting” (or sending racy texts or photos of oneself) exploded, especially among the teenage set. Now, with the iPhone 4′s FaceTimeÂ capabilities, adults with a lot of time on their hands are dreaming up how teens are, ofÂ course, going to use this emergent technology for even more lascivious purposes. In this case, the concern is about the potential for sexviding, which is basically like sexting, but in live motion via vid chat.
The author of the Yahoo article does admit the idea is “paranoid,” but I can’t help but wonder why some people always have to imagine the worst in any new technology? After all, the article is reporting on an epidemic that hasn’t even taken hold yet.
Even if sexviding does take off at some point, in my opinion, the tools that the iPhone makes available wouldn’t really be the problem. Teens who have a strong base of values and a good sense of self-worth are less likely to engage in these types of activities, no matter the mode of distribution. Those who don’t will almost always find some way to act out, whether via the iPhone or some other means. So don’t blame the tech for causing the behavior; there may be more deep-rooted issues that need to be addressed.
So I don’t buy the argument that sexviding via the iPhone 4 could be a “high-tech threat” to our kids, at least not on a widespread cultural or sociopsychological level (and not any more so than any other communication tools available today). Having said that, however, I do agree with the author on one point: FaceTime could pose a security threat. It’s one thing for a young person to send X-rated content of himself or herself to others â€” which may be symptomatic of a larger problem about self-esteem â€” but it’s quite another to do it over Wifi, as is required by FaceTime right now. If the Wifi network used is unsecured, the content could wind up in strange hands and blasted all over the web within moments. That’s an extremely harsh consequence for what might be a single moment of a young person’s bad judgment.
As working adults, most of us know that we should never send messages over company servers that we don’t want our bosses to see. The same approach should be conveyed to kids who use FaceTime: As a general rule, never conduct a vid chat that you’re not comfortable with others witnessing.
What do you think? Will sexviding via FaceTime become the new teen cultural phenomenon/plague? Or is the whole idea the product of the overworked imaginations of hyperworried grown-ups? And what would you do if you caught your teen (or were caught by your parents) engaging in it?
Via: Yahoo Tech News