Young people, social media and sexuality: a view of the literature

  • Auteur(s) Ine Vanwesenbeeck
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The scientific study of young people’s sexuality is, understandably, increasingly addressing the role of social media. Social media as well as the related research are rapidly evolving. Any final conclusion on these moving targets would be inappropriate. Nonetheless, it may be useful to keep score where we’re heading. This article considers the recent literature related to social media and young people’s sexuality. The research discussed relates, among others, to the role of social media in sexual development, to the extent of (self )sexualisation on social media, to the effects of social media on young people’s (sexual) behavior and cognitions and to the empowering effects of social media. It may be concluded that there definitely is progress in our understanding of (sexual) behavior on social media and its consequences. Questions related to determinants of differences among young people, in behavior and use of social media as well as effects and experience thereof, are an important area of future research.

Gepubliceerd in 2018, Volume 42, Issue 1

Jongeren, sociale media en seksualiteit: een literatuurbeschouwing

  • Auteur(s) Ine Vanwesenbeeck
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De wetenschappelijke bestudering van de seksualiteit van jongeren richt zich de afgelopen jaren, begrijpelijkerwijs, steeds meer ook op de rol van sociale media. Zowel het fenomeen zelf als het onderzoek ernaar zijn sterk in ontwikkeling. Vergaande conclusies met betrekking tot een dergelijk moving target zijn dan ook niet aan de orde. Niettemin kan het nuttig zijn een tussenstand op te maken. In dit artikel wordt de betreffende literatuur beschouwd. Onderzoek naar de plaats van sociale media in de seksuele ontwikkeling, naar de mate van (zelf )seksualisering op sociale media, naar de effecten van sociale media op gedrag en cognities van jongeren en naar de empowering aspecten van sociale media passeren, onder andere, de revue. Geconcludeerd wordt dat er beslist vorderingen zijn in het doorgronden van (seksueel) gedrag op sociale media en de gevolgen daarvan. Vooral vragen naar de determinanten van verschillen tussen jongeren, zowel in gedrag en gebruik van sociale media als in beleving en effecten ervan, staan veelal nog open.

Gepubliceerd in 2018, jaargang 42, Nummer 1

“Sexy selfies”. The role of social media in adolescents’ (self-)sexualization

  • Auteur(s) Annemarie van Oosten

There has been an increasing amount of attention in the literature for sexualization in the media. Sexualization occurs when “a person’s value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics; a person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness (narrowly defined) with being sexy; a person is sexually objectified—that is, made into a thing for others’ sexual use, rather than seen as a person with the capacity for independent action and decision making; and/or sexuality is inappropriately imposed upon a person”. Recently, scholars have started to pay attention to how sexualization may occur in social media, where adolescents are said to self-sexualize through posting sexy pictures of themselves (sexy self-presentation). Based on an overview of recent research on adolescents’ social media use and online self-presentation, it can be concluded that some aspects of sexualization, such as self-objectification and the increased emphasis on physical and sexual attractiveness, also occur in social media. However, we still lack knowledge on other aspects of online (self-)sexualization, such as the occurrence of sexual objectification and whether sexual content is inappropriately imposed upon adolescents in social media. Moreover, although there is initial evidence that the use of social media decreases self-esteem and sexual satisfaction, we still lack knowledge on whether the same consequences that are said to occur for sexualization in traditional media also occur for self-sexualization in social media. Suggestions for future research on (self-)sexualization in social media are given, which also pertain to the unique aspects of social media (i.e., peer norms and self-perception) compared to traditional media platforms.

Gepubliceerd in 2016, Volume 40, Issue 2

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