Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
School of Communication
In the state of Illinois, any person in possession of sexually explicit photos of a minor, even if the subject is oneself, can be prosecuted as a felon for possession of child pornography and be required to registered as a sex-offender (705 ILCS § 405). Concurrently, the recent trend of ‘send nudes’ depicts humorous ways to request the transmission of sexually explicit photos, increasing this act as a normative practice for young people (Bradford, 2018; Thomas, 2017). This trend is incongruent with Illinois statue (705 ILCS § 405) and school administrative policy about transmitting sexually explicit photos of a minor. The clash of environments – adolescents’ use of digital media and adolescent romantic experiences, education, and state law– raises serious questions about tensions within our shifting digital age, particularly in relation to educational messages about sexting. Therefore, a media ecology approach is employed to explore the environments that compound to education related to adolescent digital interaction via smartphones. This study explores if students learn about sexting in school curriculum, and if so, what are the prevailing messages? A dual method approach triangulates a qualitative analysis of existing curriculum with student interviews. From this thematic analysis, themes emerged related to educational messages about sexting: social consequences, self-responsibility, avoidance, casual approach to education, and students’ desire for greater information about sexting. All of which serve to promote relevant, student-centered sexting curriculum development.
Metz, Allison Marie, ""It Doesn't Seem Like a Big Deal": A Media Ecology Analysis of Digital Teen Sexuality and Sexting Education" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 1225.