Mobile phones become the new ‘bike sheds’

Daily Mail (UK) 31st January 2011
Behind the bike sheds used to be the place where children were initiated into a slightly more grown-up world with a peck on the cheek or even a daring snog. But an academic has warned that this harmless rite of passage has been replaced by youngsters using mobile phones to learn about each others’ bodies by sharing compromising photos of themselves or accessing X-rated porn. They are also using them to bully each other through text messaging and social networking sites. Dr Emma Bond, an expert in childhood and youth studies, said adults ‘need to take our heads out of the sand’ about what is happening to young, impressionable children. ‘The research shows how children are using mobile phones in obtaining sexual material, developing their sexual identities and in their intimate relationships with each other,’ she added. ‘The bike shed offers a useful metaphor as a generation or so ago teenagers used to go “behind the bike shed” to find a space where they could embark on exploring each others’ bodies or get hold of pornography.