February 11, 2020 - A series of videos and resources from MediaSmarts and TELUS Wise are launching for Safer Internet Day with the message that it’s never okay to share someone’s sext without their consent.
There’s No Excuse is a series of four short videos aimed at young people ages 14 and up. The videos were created as a response to a national survey conducted by MediaSmarts in 2018, which found 30 percent of youth ages 16 to 20 had shared an intimate image of someone with others.
Sharing intimate images of others – whether it’s showing it to just one person, posting the image on a “revenge porn” site, or anything in between – is illegal in Canada. According to the MediaSmarts survey two-thirds of youth knew this was a crime, however the knowledge had no influence on whether they decided to share someone’s sext. What did make a difference was whether youth believed that sharing a sext was wrong - or not.
“Our research shows there is a moral blind spot around sharing someone’s sexts that let youth see it as not being wrong, or even to see it as the victim’s own fault. But we know it can be extremely hurtful and devastating for victims of these actions,” says Matthew Johnson, MediaSmarts’ Director of Education. “An abstinence approach – or one that focuses on what is and isn’t legal – just isn’t effective at preventing non-consensual sharing. These new videos and educational materials focus on the sharing behaviour to help put a stop to this illegal and harmful behaviour.”
The four videos explore the most common ways youth convince themselves it’s okay to share other peoples’ sexts without consent: “Everybody does it”; “You should be thanking me”; “I’m just the messenger”; and “It’s your fault for sending it”. The videos are accompanied by a lesson plan for teachers of grade 11-12 students, as well as tip sheets and guides for parents, coaches, school resource officers and community leaders to use to help prevent young people from sharing intimate images of others without consent.
“While taking and sending sexts is a risky behaviour in itself, the most harm occurs when someone chooses to forward or distribute an intimate image of someone else without their consent. This is one of the most severe forms of cyberbullying, and these videos highlight the fact that there are simply no good excuses to justify this kind of behaviour,” said Nimmi Kanji, Director of TELUS Wise and Social Purpose programs at TELUS. “We’re pleased to work with MediaSmarts to drive change on Safer Internet Day and beyond. Confronting the moral pitfalls of sharing sexts is a new, evidence-based approach that we as parents, educators and youth advocates can all use to address the culture of sharing that exists among youth.”
The There’s No Excuse videos and supporting resources can be found on the TELUS Wise website at telus.com/howwouldufeel and at MediaSmarts.ca. As a platinum sponsor of MediaSmarts, TELUS is consistently investing in the development of digital literacy education, promoting safe and kind behaviour online.
TELUS Wise is an industry-leading, digital literacy education program offering a variety of additional workshops and resources to help Canadians of all ages have a positive experience as digital citizens. TELUS Wise workshops and resources cover topics including protecting your online security, privacy and reputation, rising above cyberbullying, and using technology responsibly. To learn more about the TELUS Wise program, workshops and resources, visit telus.com/wise.
Communications Specialist | TELUS
MediaSmarts is the national, bilingual, not-for-profit centre for digital and media literacy. For the past 25 years, MediaSmarts has advanced digital and media literacy in Canadian schools, homes, and communities. Visit www.mediasmarts.ca to learn more.
Manager of Marketing and Communications | MediaSmarts
613-224-7721 ext. 231