In recent years, sexting as a concept has gained traction in popular and media discourse, becoming one of a suite of issues canvassed by the media that come under the umbrella of cyberporn, cyberbullying and other technologically facilitated ‘harms’. While a growing body of work has begun to emerge about the experiences, understandings and perceptions of young people around the practice of sexting — which we explore in other chapters of this book — much less is known about the way in which the concept of sexting entered the public lexicon, the role of the media in this process, and the implications of media discourses on understandings of and attitudes towards sexting. Given that the media provide an important forum for the discussion and dissemination of a range of social issues, including crime and deviance (cf. Jewkes 2011a; Surette 2010), analysing media representations becomes important when trying to understand the responses of governments, agents of social control, the public and young people to the issue of sexting.
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