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Teens, Sex, and Technology: Implications for Educational Systems and Practice 

Teens, Sex, and Technology: Implications for Educational Systems and Practice
Teens, Sex, and Technology: Implications for Educational Systems and Practice

Andrew J. Harris

and Judith Davidson

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date: 13 June 2021

The convergence of technology-facilitated communication and adolescent sexual behavior presents a range of challenges to school-based practitioners such as teachers, educational administrators, guidance and mental health staff, and school resource officers. Those working in school settings must develop and implement both viable systems of incident response and effective prevention and harm reduction strategies. Drawing on the authors’ original research investigating youth, parental, and educator perspectives concerning responses to teen “sexting” and on extant research literature, this chapter presents an evidence-informed framework for school-based practice in this area. In the domain of incident response, the chapter provides guidance for policy and practice that navigates the often porous legal boundaries between the school’s jurisdictional authority, the demand for proportionality, and students’ rights to privacy and freedom of expression. In terms of prevention, the proposed framework aims to inform prevention practices that respond to adolescent sexual behavior and expression in a manner that reflects adolescent development, youth experiences, and social realities. The authors argue that matters such as “sexting” should be addressed not as an isolated behavior, but rather in the broader context of promoting sound social skills, mental health, and healthy sexual development.

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