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The Big Issue is a socially responsible non-profit organisation that enables willing unemployed and marginalised adults to take responsibility for their own lives through a developmental employment programme.

The dark side of selfies, sexts and smartphones

Social media and the internet in the hands of many adults, and especially teenagers, is like a loaded gun.

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There are legal pitfalls, hidden dangers and future implications of what you do, see and post online. Selfi es, Sexts and Smartphones: A Teenager’s Online Survival Guide by social media legal expert Emma Sadleir and Dr Lizzie Harrison, is the book every teenager (and their parents) should read. It covers all the major issues teenagers face in the digital age, including cyberbullying, sexting, addiction, internet safety, porn, anxiety, depression, privacy and reputation, all within a South African context and from a legal and safety point of view.

Emma Sadleir

Authors’ extract for teens about sexting, p39

A judge was asked how he knows when a picture has crossed the line from sexy into pornographic, and he simply said: “Pornography – I know it when I see it.” This sounds unhelpful, but you all have a gut feel for when a picture has gone a bit too far, so in reality, if you’re honest, you also know it when you see it. It is the intention behind the picture that really makes the difference. A picture of you playing in the sea on holiday in your bikini is quite different from a picture of you pouting and posing on the pool lounger in the same bikini with “come to bed eyes”. Context matters. If you know that your mom wouldn’t like what you are about to photograph, a) don’t do it, b) don’t take the pic, and c) certainly don’t post it or send it.

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