During the Chinese coronavirus quarantines and lockdowns, kids are on their phones more than ever. But what are they doing on them? Shockingly, Teen Vogue and Snapchat are encouraging them to sext and create what one watchdog organization is calling "underage pornography."
Evie Magazine reported on April 13 that last month Snapchat featured a Teen Vogue story about sexting on its popular Discover page. This is dangerous according to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NSOCE) which said, “[I]t is socially irresponsible for Snapchat Discover to encourage minors to self-produce underage pornography (i.e. child sexual abuse materials), thereby increasing their vulnerability to sexual predators.”
Evie went on to further detail:
On March 23, Snapchat featured a Teen Vogue story entitled “How to Sext: The Best Tips and Tricks” that detailed “7 things you might not have known about sexting.” The story went on to state things like “sexting should make you feel good” and “there all kinds of creative, fun ways to sext.” The NSCE says that teaching teens (who are still children) to sext allows “online predators [who] use social media platforms to pose as peers and groom children to send them sexually explicit material (i.e. ‘sext’ with them) that they can then distribute and/or use to blackmail the child into other forms of sexual exploitation.”
One slide in the Teen Vogue Snapchat story said, “Like anything worth doing, sexting takes practice,” which encourages sexting as a worthy practice for minors to engage in. Another said, “Sexting should make you feel good. Sending someone details about what you want to do to them and getting back even more detail about what they want to do to you should be fun, easy, and ultimately joyful. Anything less than that isn’t worth your time.” Yes, they really told kids that sexting is “joyful.”
Sexting is a risky activity for teens, leaving them susceptible to further exploitation. NCOSE Executive Director Dawn Hawkins told the Daily Caller:
[R]esearch shows that sexting is often linked to offline sexual coercion, leaving teens inherently vulnerable. Additionally, sexting can lead teens to be sexually extorted, sexually abused, or trafficked. Sexting is not harmless fun, as Teen Vogue would like teenagers to think, and Teen Vogue and Snapchat would be wise to stop promoting sexting to young, impressionable teens.
Hawkins also warned that sexting can lead to other offline behavior like “bullying and sextortion among peers,” including revenge porn. She added, “Pimps/traffickers often use the images to coerce teens into commercial sex trade; and self-produced youth pornography is often shared with third parties, and sometimes finds its way into the collections of predators and their child sexual abuse material.”
Teen Vogue and Snapchat should be held accountable for shamelessly encouraging such dangerous and even illegal sexual behavior for minors.
Of course, from telling teens that abortion is “completely normal” to how-to guides for anal sex, Teen Vogue is no stranger to creating inappropriate content for youth. Meanwhile, Snapchat got in trouble last year for having a “love has no age” filter during LGBTQ Pride Month. Both institutions are insidious sources of harmful sexualization of our youth.