Get­ting naughty & nude for ‘likes’

Chil­dren post­ing raunchy pic­tures on­line to get at­ten­tion

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Na­dine Wil­son-Har­ris Staff Re­porter na­dine.wil­son@glean­erjm.com

GET­TING LIKES on Face­book has be­come so im­por­tant to 14year-old Shan­ice James* that she has re­sorted to post­ing raunchy pho­tos on her page to in­crease her chances of se­cur­ing more friends and their ap­proval. “I post a lot of pho­tos and some are re­veal­ing and peo­ple would com­ment and it makes me feel good be­cause mi know say mi pic­ture look good,” Shan­ice told The Sun­day Gleaner dur­ing a re­cent in­ter­view.

“If I have some­thing to do I will come off for a minute and then go back on, be­cause I am kind of ad­dicted. Is it keep my com­pany,” added Shan­ice.

She has been us­ing the In­ter­net un­su­per­vised since she was about 10 years old, and said she has ac­quired a lot of friends through so­cial me­dia and some­times meets up with them in per­son.

The teenager is one of sev­eral ado­les­cents who have no qualms about flaunt­ing their semi-nude bod­ies on­line in or­der to at­tract at­ten­tion.

So­cial-me­dia ex­pert and com­mu­ni­ca­tion spe­cial­ist Dr Marcia Forbes finds that this is one of the ways young peo­ple grow­ing up in to­day’s tech­savvy world try to get a ‘high’.

‘AT­TEN­TION ECON­OMY’

“There is an ex­pres­sion now called the at­ten­tion econ­omy. We are now liv­ing in a time that is now driven by at­ten­tion, and if I can cap­ture your at­ten­tion, I will do what­ever I need to do to cap­ture your at­ten­tion,” said Forbes. “Young peo­ple are com­ing into their own in terms of who they are and ac­cep­tance is a huge thing for ado­les­cents. Peer pres­sure and want­ing to be ac­cepted by your peers and the num­ber of likes, or retweets, or shares, or what­ever for­mat that par­tic­u­lar plat­form might al­low, that is a big thing,” added Forbes. Head of the Cen­tre for In­ves­ti­ga­tion of Sex­ual Of­fences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), Su­per­in­ten­dent Enid Ross-Ste­wart, said her team has come across sev­eral cases of chil­dren pos­ing nude or en­gag­ing in sex­ual ac­tiv­i­ties which have been video recorded and cir­cu­lated on so­cial-me­dia sites.

She finds that some of these chil­dren are non­cha­lant dur­ing ques­tion­ing. “A good 20 per cent of them are re­ally can­did about it. It’s re­ally noth­ing,” said RossSte­wart.

She re­called one 14-year-old girl telling her that she wanted to be like Kim Kar­dashian, the Amer­i­can celebrity who gained fame af­ter a sex video with her then boyfriend was made pub­lic in 2003.

“They see no shame in it, be­cause Kim was not ashamed,” said Ross-Ste­wart.

Ac­cord­ing to the Of­fice of the Chil­dren’s Ad­vo­cate ado­les­cent In­ter­net (so­cial me­dia) and smart­phone ap­pli­ca­tion us­age sur­vey, which was pub­lished re­cently, close to half of the chil­dren sur­veyed shared pho­tos of them­selves on­line.

More than five per cent of those sur­veyed ad­mit­ted that they have posted a full or par­tially nude photo of them­selves on­line.

The sur­vey con­sisted of stu­dents from grade seven to 12 across the is­land.

Forbes noted that for some young peo­ple, get­ting ap­proval on­line is ad­dic­tive. She said some get an adren­a­line rush when they see their phones light up.

“When these young peo­ple get the likes, they get a rush of sat­is­fac­tion that they feel they have achieved some­thing. So there are peo­ple who do things for likes, and they live for that,” said Forbes.

She noted that whereas the so­cial cap­i­tal for many ma­ture peo­ple would be their house, car, busi­ness, etc, for a num­ber of young peo­ple, it is their on­line fol­low­ing.

“You will hear the way they talk about how many likes they got for some­thing and they will talk pre­cisely of how many fol­low­ers they have. It means some­thing for them, that is their so­cial cap­i­tal,” she ex­plained.

REA­SONS FOR FLAUNT­ING

Forbes has found, through re­search on so­cial-me­dia us­age, that boys and girls had dif­fer­ent rea­sons for flaunt­ing on­line.

“For the boys, the at­ten­tion that they were look­ing for was largely from, and I am go­ing to use the ex­pres­sion that they used, ‘big fat white women’ be­cause they felt that these women were sex­u­ally de­prived and would prob­a­bly spon­sor them to mi­grate. So for the boys, it was about dress­ing up and look­ing sleek to at­tract these women,” said Forbes.

“For the girls, it was about as skimpy as you dare to at­tract boys in gen­eral; they weren’t so much about the for­eign boys, but boys in gen­eral,” she found.

*Name changed to pro­tect the teenager

More than five per cent of (chil­dren) sur­veyed ad­mit­ted that they have posted a full or par­tially nude photo of on­line.” them­selves

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