Let’s Talk About Digital Consent!

Hey, you there!

I’m glad you’re here. I’ve got a question for you.

Tell me, how many times have you received an unwanted dick pic?

According to a 2017 YouGov survey, 53% of millennial women have received a naked photo from a man.

As a young woman living in the 21st century who owns a phone this information is not surprising to me. Chances are my fellow females aged between 18 – 34 will not find this surprising either.

Some of that 53% may have enjoyed the picture. Not all penis pictures are unsolicited! From the right person with the right consent, a dick pic can be like a Picasso painting, but without it, the situation can be uncomfortable and confronting. Although you aren’t talking face-to-face, you should always consider how your online actions might make another person feel.

Does the age of sexting come from a culture of over-sexualising everything to be the norm? Many young people feel that there’s an expectation to look a certain way and be sexually appealing. Peer pressure can further worsen the pressure on young people to involve themselves in unsolicited sexual interactions due to a lack of knowledge on the serious consequences.

What you need to know about texting and sexting

Consent. That’s all. That’s the secret.

Consent must be a part of your interactions with others when you’re texting or using social media. Consent is actively, freely and regularly given. If I haven’t actively agreed to receiving your sext or dick pic, I don’t want to see it!

Not everyone feels comfortable sexting, and that’s okay — there are good reasons to have concerns about sharing private photos and sexually suggestive messages.

Violating consent and sexting can be serious.

It is a crime to store or share sexual photos of someone under 18, even if you are also under 18.

If someone shares a nude photo with you, don’t share it with anyone. Sharing intimate photos with someone they weren’t meant for is a violation of trust and is now illegal in Australia with new laws criminalising the behaviour.

Australia’s Parliament has passed legislation aimed at protecting citizens from people distributing non-consensual intimate images and videos online, known as “revenge porn”.

So what now?

Asking for consent is a healthy, normal, and necessary part of online interactions. For more information or to download a fact sheet on digital consent visit:

Remember to be SENSIBLE, make sure it’s CONSENSUAL, before getting SEXUAL.

Zoe Davis is the Administration Officer at YWCA Australia in Darwin. Among her administrative duties Zoe has also earned the title of ‘you’re a young person so you must know how to fix this technology issue’. In her spare time she identifies as an amateur photographer, an avid star gazer and plant grazer. She’s an animal lover, tree hugger and is a passionate supporter of women’s rights.

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