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Cyberconsent and How to Practice Consent Online
What is cyberconsent?
Cyberconsent is consent that takes place in the digital world (on our computers, phones, WhatsApp, zoom, dating apps, social media, etc). When we are online our interactions are taking place through our screens and not in-person and consent still matters. The same expectations for consent apply. Visit the SVSPO’s page on consent to learn more.
What are some examples of when cyberconsent is needed?
We need to ask for consent when sharing photos and videos of one and other online, when we tag people in photos and videos, when we send and receive sexual photos, videos and messages, etc.
Posting photos and videos of friends and loved ones may seem harmless but we do need to consider the comfort of others. Our boundaries are not always the same as others so it’s good to check in and ask before posting and tagging.
Sharing nude photos or videos and sexting with someone can be a fun and a flirtatious way to connect with someone you are interested in and/or dating. How do you know that they want to receive those messages, photos and/or videos? We do need to ask first!
How can I be safe(r) in the digital world?
Here are a few tips and strategies to use to help keep us safe(r) in the digital world:
Know how to use the safety features (how to block and report others) in the social media platforms and apps
Know the risks with online spaces (ie Zoom has a recording function, others can take screenshots of images and videos shared)
Check out someone’s social media to make sure they are who they say they are
Reverse image search someone’s photo from a dating app to check that their photos aren’t fake
Is cyberconsent ongoing?
Cyberconsent is an ongoing process. We might agree to certain sexual activities when we are chatting with others in the digital world, but once we meet in person we still need to ask for consent again. People have the right to change their mind!
People change their minds all the time. What someone consented to 10 minutes ago, an hour ago, last week over text or social media might not be something they are into doing when we meet up in person and that’s ok!
On September 30th, 2020, the Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office hosted a webinar called “A Conversation on Cyberconsent”. Please watch the full webinar and learn more about how we can make cyberconsent a norm in our online conversations.
Learn more about how to stay safer while sexting visit “Sexting: tips on staying safe(r)” post.