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Public sexting MTV special

Parts of the Seton Hall University campus were used for filming by MTV for their special "Sexting in America: When Privates Go Public."

The news special, which aired Feb. 14 on MTV, explored the dangers of sexting as well as the frequency of digital abuse, which is "spreading negative or embarrassing dirt (true, untrue, or unknown, via text, pic or video) about someone behind their back or to their face," according to, an organization created to bring awareness to sexting and digital abuse.

Sexting is "sending or forwarding nude, sexually suggestive, or explicit pics on your cell or online," according to the Web site for A Thin Line.

According to Jill Matthews, the media relations coordinator for Seton Hall, MTV contacted the university about using some campus spaces for their news special.

"For this news special, MTV reached out to us and a number of other area colleges as they were looking for a college setting for their show on digital privacy and the dangers of private information becoming public," Matthews said in an e-mail interview.

Matthews said students were used as extras and had no speaking parts.
"They did not want to interview any students or any administrators and were just in need of space to film stand ups with their reporter. The spaces they were interested in were available and we worked to ensure their presence would not disrupt campus operations in any way."

The atrium of the Science and Technology Building and parts of Jubilee Hall were used for filming, Matthews said.

Along with filming areas of the university's campus, students were allowed to volunteer to be in the background of the areas that were being filmed.

One of the students who volunteered was David Zolezzi, a freshman pre-dental major.

"I was leaving my biology lecture in McNulty Hall and cameras were set up all around," Zolezzi said in an e-mail interview. "There was this lady right there handing out forms for us to sign if we wanted to be featured in the show. She explained to us that it was going to be a featured documentary on MTV about ‘sexting.'"

Zolezzi said he was featured in two scenes, but is only "clearly" visible in one.

The student volunteers did not have to have any experience with "sexting" in order to be featured in the special, according to Zolezzi.
The only requirement for being filmed was a signed waiver form.

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According to Matthews, students were not interviewed for the news special.

"In fact, Seton Hall is not mentioned in the show," Matthews said.
Zolezzi watched the show when it aired last Sunday, Feb. 14 but said he has not had experience with the issues of sexting or digital abuse.

According to A Thin Line's Web site, three in 10 people have been involved in sexting and nearly one in five recipients have passed the sext along to someone else.

More than 50 percent of those who have shared a sext have shared it with multiple people.

Sexters are also four times as likely to commit suicide in the past year than non sexters.

More information about this issue, as well as the half-hour news special, can be found at A Thin Line's Web site.

Jessica Sutcliffe can be reached at


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