Sex Thing - The theatre play that treats its audience as offenders

  • Awareness
  • 26/01/2018
  • Belgian Safer Internet Centre

Child Focus, the Belgian Safer Internet Centre, has launched a new musical theatre show for schools meant to raise awareness about the risks of sexting.

Performed by the O'Kontreir theatre company from Schilde, in Antwerp the play ‘Sex Thing' premiered in Mechelen in May 2017.

Why sexting?
Targeting pupils in the second grade of secondary education, the play depicts possible consequences of sexting, which refers to the action of sending nude or sexual themed photos via social media. The problematic aspect linked to sexting is ‘revenge porn', which can occur if for example a couple breaks up and one partner decides to revenge by publishing explicit pictures of their ex partner.

According to Child Focus, about 8% of young people in Flanders have already sent such an image and about a quarter have received one. "Online privacy is about so much more than a good password or cyber-security," said Heidi De Pauw, CEO of Child Focus. "It's very difficult to take control of or delete a photo once it's in cyberspace." Last year, Child Focus was asked to follow up on 126 cases of sexting gone wrong.

The play focuses mainly on prevention, targeting those who have sent or are considering sending explicit texts, but it also wants to raise awareness among youngsters who receive and the decide to share explicit photos initially addressed only to them. "They have to realise that they are also guilty of negative consequences afterwards," said De Pauw.

Federal secretary of state for privacy Philippe de Backer applauds the initiative, announcing that "we need to focus more on raising awareness than on immediate repressive action".

Find out more about the work of the Belgian Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services.


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