Sexting is a common form of communication among university students in Botswana, a recent study has discovered. Researchers Makgale, O. L., & Plattner, I. E. (2017) study titled “Sexting and risky sexual behaviours among undergraduate students in Botswana: An exploratory study” and published in Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, has results indicating that sexually active students are more likely to engage in sending sexts than sexually non-active students. The conclusion of the study continues: “The results imply that frequent sexting is associated with risky sexual behaviours, which makes sexting a relevant topic to be discussed in public health care and sex education. For example, it is crucial to educate young people about the risks involved in revealing matters of sexual intimacy through sexting as sexting can result in a loss of personal control over one’s privacy once a sext is sent. Young people have to be made aware that sexting makes them vulnerable to misuse and abuse of their intimate personal information and that sexting does not make provision for later regrets or wishes to withdraw sexting content. Sex education for young people who have never known a world without the internet and online facilities, has to assist them to develop skills and competencies of protecting their privacy and intimacy in the digital world. Considering possible interrelatedness between sexting as a risky behaviour and risky sexual behaviour, sexting could make young people vulnerable to STDs including HIV infection, which is of particular interest in the context of Botswana, where HIV rates are high among the young generations. Empowering young people to protect their sexual intimacy from online abuse could also empower them psychologically to protect their life and to practice safe sex in order to avoid HIV infection. Parents, teachers, student counsellors, and health care providers could include the topic of sexting when discussing sexual behaviour and safe sex with young people to make them aware of the risks that sexting can impose on them.”
Obakeng L. Makgale & Ilse Elisabeth Plattner are from the Department of Psychology, University of Botswana.