Motorola’s “Sext” to a Super Bowl Audience of Over 100 Million

Motorola’s “Sext” to a Super Bowl Audience of Over 100 Million

by National Coalition

Motorola’s “Sext” to a Super Bowl Audience of Over 100 Million

While a record audience watched the Saints and Colts do battle, Motorola and CBS were busy glamorizing a trend that is harming young people across the nation: “sexting.”

“Sexting” refers to the sending of nude or semi-nude photos of oneself electronically, or the forwarding of such images by another, usually via mobile phone text messages. According to a 2008 survey, 20% of teens have sexted, while 25% of teen girls and 33% of teen boys have been shown images intended for someone else, and the consequences can sometimes be devastating. This phenomenon has led to a wave of media reports and public service announcements encouraging teens to think before hitting “send.”

This reality notwithstanding, Motorola saw fit to promote its new products to a Super Bowl audience that included millions of impressionable teens by glamorizing sexting and making light of the consequences. In the commercial, actress Megan Fox is shown taking a bath while enraptured with her new Motorola phone service and, after snapping a photo of herself in the tub, mischievously wondering aloud what would happen if she hit “send.” Viewers are then treated to several scenes involving workplace injury, marital discord, and other negative but supposedly humorous ramifications of the “sext” appearing on the phones of various recipients. In the end, Ms. Fox answers her own question by stating with a seductive grin, “Probably nothing.”

The commercial is disappointing on a number of levels, but primarily for its implicit connection of sexting with popularity and its glib treatment of the potential fallout. While organizations like the National Coalition and concerned parents and individuals across the country are attempting to persuade young people to think before creating sexually explicit content, let alone sending it out into cyberspace where it cannot be retrieved or controlled, Motorola has ignored the many young lives being harmed across the country in an effort to sell its cell phones by selling young viewers sex.

Parents must think critically about how media messages such as the Motorola commercial are influencing their children, and they must educate themselves about the technology at their kids’ disposal so that they can speak clearly and compassionately to them about the issues. To that end, the National Coalition, in partnership with the Religious Alliance Against Pornography, has produced a booklet titled “Sex and Cell Phones: Protect Your Children.” This resource provides information on the parental controls provided by wireless carriers, and includes a “Safe Use Agreement” for parents to go over with their teens and educate them about acceptable and unacceptable use of their mobile phones.

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