‘Flirting, boasting, gossiping, teasing, hanging out, confessing: all that classic teen stuff has always happened … It’s just that it used to happen behind the bike sheds, or via tightly folded notes pressed urgently into sweating hands in the corridor between lessons. Social networking sites and mobile phones have simply facilitated the whole business, a gadzillion times over.’  – John Henley, The Guardian

Emma Sadlier, social media consultant and lawyer, is in Knysna on the 8th of March to talk about her latest book, Selfies, Sexts & Smartphones.  Ling Dobson, Festival founder, said she is South Africa’s leading expert on social media law and her company,  the Digital Law Company, specialises in educating and advising corporates, employees, schools, parents, teachers, and universities on the legal, disciplinary and reputational risks of social media.

“In an interview she said the motivation for the book was a legal case in her office when a 13-year-old girl was harassed to such an extent via WhatsApp by a 14-year-old boy that she landed in ICU, having tried to take her own life. He had repeatedly asked her to send a nude photograph, which she eventually did, and it went viral. She said that this was when she realised the magnitude of the problems that young people are dealing with today. “

Emma’s areas of expertise include managing the legal consequences of using social media including defamation, privacy, hate speech and intellectual property; cyberbullying and harassment; sexting and pornography offences; the disciplinary consequences of using social media; personal and brand reputation management on social media; health and social media and online safety.

Dobson said Selfies, Sexts and Smartphones  is the book every teenager (and their parents) should read. “It covers all of the major issues teenagers face in the digital age, including cyberbullying, sexting, addiction, internet safety, porn, anxiety, depression, privacy and reputation, and does so within a South African context. Accessible, informative and even fun, this book will help guide you to a happy, rewarding and, most importantly, safe online life.”

She added that although the book may be aimed at teenagers, the advice and warnings really apply to all social media users, no matter what age.  “Some of us may not be teenagers anymore, but we are “teenagers” when it comes to social media!  I think if you are online, you can benefit from hearing what Emma has to say!”

For more information and the full programme please visit www.knysnaliteraryfestival.co.za or call (044) 382 5574. Tickets are available at the Pam Golding Properties offices in Gray Street, Knysna, or online on Quicket.