Leading the session

Part 1 - Unpacking Social Stigma!

  1. Start the session by showing some of the example anti-sexting campaigns - these can be videos or posters/advertisements with underlying narratives like “preventing sexting” or “why sexting is bad”.

  2. Once you’ve demonstrated a few of these campaigns, split participants up into small groups of 3-4 people to analyze the campaigns. Give groups between 5-10 minutes for this discussion:

    • What is wrong with these campaigns?
    • How do they portray women?
    • Some campaigns even criminalize sexting, as well as the women who practice it – does this approach present a real solution to the real problem?

Part 2 - What is Sexting?

  1. Once the small group discussions are complete, review with participants what sexting is; in your explanation, be sure to reinforce these points:
  • The practice of taking and sending selfies and nudes can be an exercise of self-determination.

  • Sexting can also be an act of pleasurable resistance against racism, sexism, machismo, conservatism and heteronormativity.

Ultimately, whether or not you share these kinds of pictures of yourself must be a choice that is exclusively yours, and must be a conscious exercise of both your right to self-expression and your right to privacy.

Part 3 – Safer Sexting?

  1. In this part of the session, you can begin to offer some specific recommendations on practices that participants can implement for safer sexting. It’s important to remember that there are different attitudes about identity and anonymity when it comes to sexting: some may feel more comfortable sexting with people they don’t know, and others may feel safer sexting only with those individuals they know well.

    It is important here to be open to every possibility - provide digital security advice or recommendations based on specific preferences or doubts shared by participants, using some of the following suggestions as examples:

    • Play it safe - delete nudes or selfies that you send to others from your device as soon as you send them. When sending photos, do so over safer or secure channels (such as Signal – see more details below under Step 5).

    • Build rules or agreements with your sexting partners about not sharing your photos (or if sharing is okay, make agreements concerning with whom and how), what kind of detail your photos can contain, how you will send each other photos, etc.

    • Use a dedicated channel or app for sexting – while asking a sexting partner to download a new app or follow a specific procedure might not be the “sexiest” way to start things off, it’s better than accidentally sending a photo of yourself over your regular SMS app to someone you didn’t mean to send to!

    • Be creative - look for your safest and sexiest angles in your photos!

  2. If you will not already covered the session What Does Your Metadata Say About You? (or you will not have time to do so during this training) take about 15 minutes during this session to explain what metadata is and share a few examples – you can refer to that session for some examples.

    Explain that metadata in images can often provide identifying information about users, which is important to be aware of – in particular if sending nude selfies, and especially if the goal is to remain anonymous:

    To preserve anonymity, avoid showing any element(s) in a photo that could potentially identify you: these range from the more obvious (face, username) to more minute details (tattoos, furniture or belongings in the background, certain clothing), and finally to digital traces (photo metadata, geotagging, device information).

  3. Finally, you may close the session out by making some recommendations on specific tools that participants use for safer sexting with partners:

    ObscuraCam: this mobile app produced by the Guardian Project allows users to “scrub” (remove) specific metadata details from their photos.

    Meet.jitsi: this browser-based platform offers HTTPS encryption and allows users to create temporary, one-time use chatrooms for video/audio chatting.

    Signal or Telegram: these mobile messaging apps offer varying levels of encrypted protection (of data while in transit between users) as well as user verification; in particular, Signal allows users to set “expiration” limits on messages or other content that they send (for example, after 5 minutes a photo can be set to disappear from the recipient’s view of the conversation on their device).