Thursday, 12 January 2012

Review of BBC 3 websex

The BBC is currently running a season on sex on its BBC 3 channel and the first show was a programme called web sex. You can watch it on iPlayer here http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/b019gc2h/  (If you live outside of the UK http://www.tunnelbear.com/ can get you around the country restrictions). 


The shows was trying to explore how young people are using the internet and mobile phones for their own sex lives. Now the programme starts with two interviews with a guy and a girl who claim that the interweb has had a very positive impact on their sex lives. The guy has a pretty rotten attitude towards women (in my opinion) with him using social networks to maximise the number of women he can have sex with. The 2nd interview talks to a girl who has found social networks as a way to build her personal confidence and improve her self esteem. 


The show moves on to the detail other ways social networks, mobile apps and websites are used by young people for some kind of sexual purpose. They tell the story of a girl who got addicted to meeting with strangers online for sex, a women who had private images she shared with a partner spread around and a women who was happy to do live sex shows on a webcam but wouldn't let her face be shown. 

Through out the programme I got a strong sense that the show was claiming that websex could be either positive or negative. This seems a pretty fair conclusion that technology as a resource is neutral and it is how people use it that is important. Near the end they have an interview with @EmmaKennytv who makes one of the most important points of the show that everything sexual you do online should be with a "trusted partner". Her advice focuses on the simple check that if you wouldn't be comfortable do an activity in front of someone in real life you should think twice about doing in via a webcam. 

The show also had some substantial research about websex trends by @profandyphippen  who detailed lots of very high rates of young people using the internet either to enhance their offline relationships and also for me surprising high rates of young people seeking out new partners online. I hope to get a look at a more detailed breakdown of the results in the future. 

Overall I liked this programme as a good introduction to what is happening in the emerging generation of young sexual beings. I do think it did a good job of highlighting some of the specific dangers/consequences that are relevant to websex. I hope that awareness of this issue continues to be raised for young people. Not because websex is bad, but people need to be equipped to make informed intelligent choices when they understand the risks.