Body Image, Consent and Communications
As well as the health and medical problems which can result from young people copying what they see in porn, a number of personal and relationship issues can also be affected.
There is no such thing as the ‘perfect body’, and the images we see in the media are often enhanced. The desire to look like the performers they see on screen can lead young people to strive for unrealistic and unattainable standards for their own bodies. These distorted ideals can in turn result in psychological issues, low self-esteem and unrealistic expectations around what “normal” sex can be like for both men and women.
Sexting is when someone shares sexual, naked or semi-naked images or videos of themselves or others, or sends sexually explicit messages via digital communications tools such as email, text messages, or other messaging apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp.
They can be sent using mobiles, tablets, smartphones or laptops – any device that allows you to share media and messages. Sexting can be seen as harmless, but creating or sharing explicit images of a child is illegal, even if the person doing it is a child themselves. Although sexting can be a way for a young person to explore their sexuality, it can also lead to negative consequences like blackmail, bullying, unwanted attention and emotional problems. Once a picture has been sent, it is then out of the sender’s control and can be shared further and to a wider audience than was initially intended. The NSPCC has a number of resources available on the subject of sexting and keeping children safe – click here to visit their page.
For more information on Sexual Health Week 2017, visit the Family Planning Authority website.