The etiquettes of digital communication

3 December 2021
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Tim Paine, Australia’s Cricket captain is the latest high-profile individual to fall on his sword because of sexting. While sexting is a problem which has become widespread particularly amongst teenagers, it is certainly not uncommon amongst adults.

Paine’s exchange with an employee of Cricket Tasmania took place some four years ago. It has been apparently well-known for some time in cricketing circles and both Cricket Tasmania and Cricket Australia need to explain why it was covered up. There is some lack of clarity as to whether the exchange was consensual but even if it was it is a grossly inappropriate and repugnant way to make use of cyberspace.

Precisely why some men believe that it is an inventive or titillating way to enhance sexual conversation by photographing their private parts and sending these pictures to others is something of a mystery.

Adult men who engage in sexting also reveal inordinate recklessness and folly. The evidence is almost always preserved in one way or another. Unintended third parties including minors can often get hold of this type of offensive material. Exchanges which are initially consensual can turn nasty if the parties fall out. Where the sending is unsolicited, it can constitute a particularly egregious form of sexual harassment.

Employers need to review their corporate policies to make it clear that any employee found to have engaged in sexting commits a sackable offence.