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'First Fridays' Deakin GSS Seminar Series: Kath Albury on Digital Sexual Ci...

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Deakin Downtown

Tower 2, Level 12

727 Collins Street

Docklands, VIC 3008

Australia

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"Digital sexual citizenship and 'sext education': building new theoretical toolkits to help adults engage with young people's digital cultures"

As Ken Plummer argues, rights and responsibilities are not simply given, but ‘have to be invented through human activities, and built into notions of communities, citizenship and identities’ (1995, 150). While young people’s right to freedom from sexual coercion and abuse is increasingly accepted as a central narrative within Australian sexuality education and health promotion policy, sexuality education - particularly as it is delivered in secondary schools - seldom addresses young people's positive rights to sexual self-expression. Despite this relative absence of a ‘sexual citizenship’ framework in sexuality education more broadly, there is an emerging language of ‘digital citizenship’ being applied to young people’s participation in online and mobile mediated spaces, particularly in educational content that seeks to address online bullying and harassment (including behaviours relating to sexting and pornography). For example, the Alannah and Madeline Foundation’s e-Smart program offers a ‘Digital Licence’ program through which young people can assert their citizenship (see https://www.digitallicence.com.au/). The eSmart Digital Licence is an online cyber safety program teaching children critical digital skills to be smart, safe and responsible when online. However, the intersection of sexual citizenship and digital citizenship has not been articulated in either sexuality education and sexual health promotion or in ‘cybersafety’ education policy and practice. This paper considers the ways that a theory of digital sexual citizenship might be productively deployed in the context of sexuality education and sexual health promotion, and how the concept of ‘participatory culture’ (Jenkins et al. 2016) might offer a means of applying this framework in practice.

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Kath Albury is a Professor of Media and Communication at Swinburne University of Technology, Australia. Her current research focuses on young people’s practices of digital self-representation, and the role of user-generated media (including social networking platforms) in formal and informal sexual learning. Kath leads the Australian Research Council Linkage Project ‘Safety, risk and wellbeing on digital dating apps’, with industry partners ACON Health (formerly the AIDS Council of NSW) and Family Planning NSW.


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Deakin Downtown

Tower 2, Level 12

727 Collins Street

Docklands, VIC 3008

Australia

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