Teenage refugees in Uganda who engaged in “sexting”—the apply of sending and receiving sexually express digital photos and messages—had been extra prone to report that they used condoms, two latest research discovered.
The researchers are exploring whether or not the digital platforms these teenagers use for sexting may also function efficient supply methods for instructional messaging about condom use and interventions on gendered sexual coercion—conditions wherein one particular person makes use of verbal strain or bodily means to govern one other particular person into sexual exercise, together with sexting.
Moses Okumu, a professor of social work on the College of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, is the primary writer of two exploratory research that examined hyperlinks between sexting and sexual well being practices amongst refugee youths dwelling within the slums of Kampala, Uganda’s capital metropolis.
The pattern for each research included 242 teenagers aged 16–19, a inhabitants at excessive threat of HIV and different sexually transmitted infections, in keeping with the researchers. About 60% of those displaced teenagers had cell phones, and 15% of the cellphone homeowners reported having despatched and/or acquired nude pictures and sexually express textual content messages, Okumu mentioned.
“Refugee teenagers are like teenagers wherever—many are sexually energetic, have cell phones and are exploring their sexuality by sexting,” Okumu mentioned. “To advertise sexual well being fairness, particularly for younger individuals, we have to go the place they’re at, use the instruments that they are utilizing and take extra of a sex-positive strategy—one which strives for superb experiences and making knowledgeable decisions—fairly than a threat angle.
“That approach, we’ll have the ability to promote their well-being, particularly in contexts the place HIV and sexually transmitted infections are extraordinarily excessive, corresponding to japanese and southern Africa,” he mentioned.
Neighborhood companions skilled peer analysis assistants—teenagers who self-identified as refugees or displaced individuals—to recruit members and administer a survey on a pill laptop. The kids had been requested if and the way typically they acquired or despatched sexually express messages or pictures; their sexual well being practices, together with entry to and use of condoms and their confidence in utilizing them successfully; and their beliefs about conventional gender roles and norms.
Almost 85% of the examine pattern had been non-sexters who indicated they’d by no means despatched or acquired word- or image-based sexts. A second group of teenagers, known as poly-sexters within the examine, had each despatched and acquired express textual content messages and nude footage. These teenagers composed 9.9% of the examine members. Males had been considerably extra prone to be poly-sexters than females.
A 3rd group, known as reasonable sexters, had acquired sexually express pictures or textual content messages however responded with phrases solely. This group, which represented 5.4% of the examine members, acquired essentially the most sexting messages. Females had been extra prone to belong to this group than males, the researchers discovered.
Okumu and his staff hypothesized that many of those females within the reasonable group might have been reluctant members whose companions—most frequently males—coerced them into sexting.
The poly-sexters—who had been largely males—had been extra prone to endorse inequitable gender beliefs corresponding to expectations that males ought to be dominant and females passive in relationships, the researchers discovered.
“Sexting is changing into a vital platform for understanding and intervening in gendered sexual coercion,” Okumu mentioned. “In societies corresponding to these the place adolescents are socialized to stick to inequitable gender norms, adolescent Females could also be motivated to take part in sexting as a result of they’re coerced.”
Nonetheless, the researchers mentioned sexting was related to some optimistic outcomes, corresponding to safer sexual practices. Sexters had been twice as probably as non-sexters—65% in contrast with 32%, respectively—to know how one can entry condoms. And a higher proportion of sexters (29%) reported that they or their sexual companions had used condoms at any time in the course of the prior three months in contrast with non-sexters (10%), Okumu’s group discovered.
Poly-sexters and reasonable sexters rated themselves greater on condom self-efficacy—their confidence of their skills to make use of condoms accurately and with little or no embarrassment. Males scored considerably greater on condom self-efficacy than females. “Digital well being interventions for displaced teenagers who sext ought to embrace coaching on sexual shallowness, assertiveness, communication and sexual well being information,” Okumu mentioned.
“On condition that our findings present that younger individuals may use sexting to have interaction in express and personal discussions of sexual matters (e.g., condom efficacy and use), equipping them with the talents to carry out sexual communication if, when and the way they select appears to be a promising technique for empowering them to make knowledgeable, wholesome selections associated to sexual exercise.”
Whereas the findings had been promising, Okumu mentioned, they need to be interpreted with warning as a result of the pattern sizes had been small. Extra analysis is required to find out essentially the most efficacious messaging and intervention supply methods for these younger individuals.
The research had been printed within the journals AIDS and Habits and Computer systems in Human Habits.
Moses Okumu et al, Digital applied sciences, equitable gender norms, and sexual well being practices throughout sexting patterns amongst forcibly displaced adolescents within the slums of Kampala, Uganda, Computer systems in Human Habits (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2022.107453
Moses Okumu et al, Exploring the Protecting Worth of Utilizing Sexting for Condom Negotiation on Condom use Determinants and Practices Amongst Forcibly Displaced Adolescents within the Slums of Kampala, Uganda, AIDS and Habits (2022). DOI: 10.1007/s10461-022-03677-7
College of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Refugee teenagers in Uganda who ‘sext’ extra probably to make use of condoms, research discover (2022, November 3)
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