Online Consent

Consent is SOOO important. But, what about online consent and digital consent? I know, those are most likely new terms. But, our goal today is to teach you about those terms and how you can bring them into your life.

Even though we communicate with people by the touch of a button at any hour of the day, consent still needs to be communicated along the way. Since there are no body language cues available when communicating online, new ways to communicate boundaries have to be developed. Respecting ourselves and others happens when we practice consent! Consent gives a framework for how to communicate boundaries and understanding how our choices impact others and vice versa.


What Exactly is Consent?

According to SAAM 2021 (2021), consent occurs when someone gives permission for something to happen or agrees to do something. When asking for consent, make sure what you are asking is clear so they know exactly what they are agreeing to. It should be voluntary; those agreeing should be doing so freely without pressure, guilt, etc. from the person asking.


What About Digital Consent?

A baseline for moving forward when it comes to sexting or sending nude photos is digital consent.


Digital consent is a way to refer to sexual consent that happens through screens (SAAM 2021, 2021). Although you aren’t talking face-to-face, consent should be an on-going conversation. You can practice digital consent by:

  • asking permission before sending explicit messages or texts

  • respecting the decisions of others; if they do not want to send nude photos, that’s that

  • understand that everyone has boundaries around meeting up in real life; if you met online, accept that they might not be ready to meet up when you are

  • ask every single time

But, consent isn’t just important when it comes to sex -- there are everyday ways we communicate consent.


Everyday Consent...

Everyday consent simply means we communicate our boundaries and ask others for their perspective before taking actions that impact them (SAAM 2021, 2021). Practicing and modeling everyday consent online is simple. Some ways to do that include asking permission before posting a photo of someone else, giving options when joining Zoom meetings (leaving webcam off or not), and respecting the devices and accounts of others.


Ultimately, asking others about their boundaries and expressing yours in all your online interactions is essential. This way, you are respecting others and they are respecting you. For more information, visit our other blogs on our website and check out our social media. More resources can be found on our website at thrivetogethertoday.org.


References:

SAAM 2021 Digital Consent, Boundaries, and Everyday Online Consent. (2021). National Sexual Violence Resource Center. https://www.nsvrc.org/saam/2021/preventionresources/digitalconsentboundaries


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