Resources for Teachers - Sexual Exploitation

Sexuality and Romantic Relationships in the Digital Age

There’s a long-standing relationship between sex and the Internet. As far as back the 1980s, Usenet and local bulletin board systems were used to share pornographic text files and crude (in both senses) graphics, and people have been using digital media to form and carry out online relationships at least as long. However, just as estimates of how much online traffic and content is made up of sexual material tend to be exaggerated[1], our new report – Sexuality and Romantic Relationships in the Digital Age – from MediaSmarts’ Young Canadians in a Wired World survey of 5,436 students, shows that for Canadian youth, sexuality and romantic relationships play a fairly small part of their online lives.

Communicating Safely Online: Tip Sheet for Youth

a. Types of Unhealthy Online Relationships

Exploitation: Some people use digital media to get teenagers involved in relationships they’re not ready for. They do this by finding someone who is vulnerable and then showering them with attention, sympathy, affection and kindness, all to persuade the victim that they love and understand them.

Talking to your kids about sexting

Sexting is most likely to have negative consequences when the person sending the sext has been pressured into doing it.

Talking to your kids about pornography

It is natural for adolescents to be curious about sex: MediaSmarts’ research suggests that one in six grade 7- 11 students use the Internet to look for information about sexual health. Twenty percent of kids that age look for pornography online, but a third see it without looking for it — and close to half take steps to keep from seeing it.

Help! Someone shared a photo of me without my consent! – Tip Sheet

  1. You can start by asking the person who shared it to take it down or stop sharing it. Kids report that this works more often than not!
  2. Ask the service or platform where it was shared to take it down. If you’re under 18, they may be required by law to take it down, and most also have a policy of taking down any photos that were shared without the subject’s permission.