How WhatsApp is fuelling Transaction Sex among Jamaican Teenagers

Transactional sex encounters among Jamaican teenagers are on the rise. This often manifests in the form of under-aged teenagers in the age range of 14 to 17 years old (The Jamaica Star, 2016, May 19), arranging to have sexual encounters with each other via WhatsApp.

MICO Wars - How WhatsApp is fuelling Transaction Sex among Jamaican Teenagers - 23-08-2016 LHDEER

What is surprising is that this is being done as an initiation by girls (Wilson, 2016, August 14), as opposed to boys forcing each other to have sex, often collecting money (Grant, 2016, July 08) to buy things that they desire.

This rise in transaction sex may also be one of the reasons English (Deer, 2016, June 1) passes among boys is so poor, as boys are now being bullied into having early sexual encounters by females willing to use them to get practice.

The sudden increase in the aggressive sexual nature of females may be due to increase portrayal of sex in Traditional media and social media and easy access to sexual content on websites on the Internet. However, thanks to proliferation of high end smartphones, students are now filming and uploading videos of themselves having sexual encounters to Internet.

Albeit Facebook shuts down such groups and websites, this has not stopped them turning to WhatsApp (Brown, 2016, February 4), the rapidly growing Mobile Social Media website. Policing children online has become harder, as searching WhatsApp can only be done via smartphone.

This makes finding groups your child is involved in a bit harder being as they have several way to cover their tracks while on WhatsApp.

How Teenagers cover their tracks on WhatsApp – Tips and Tricks all Jamaican teenagers know

Some parents will join WhatsApp hoping to pose as teenagers and thus discover what their child is doing in these groups. However, teenagers, aside from using a secret name, teenagers can restrict what information (The Telegraph, 2016, July 16) unknown users in a WhatsApp Group know about them as follows:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Go to Account
  3. Go to Privacy
  4. Change Last Seen, Profile Photo and Status to My Contacts

Anyone who is not in their close circle of friends in their contact list will not be able to see their picture, thus making it harder to identify who they are….and you finding them!

Parent often try to trick teenagers by sending them WhatsApp messages to see if they read them, thereby confirming that they are online via the appearance of double (Brown, 2014, November 6) blue ticks. However, an easy trick use by teenager is to read the message in airplane mode:

  1. Once you receive the message, don’t open it
  2. Dismiss any notifications on your home screen.
  3. Open up Airplane mode
  4. Open WhatsApp to read the message in full
  5. Fully close the app
  6. Deactivate Airplane mode.

Despite having read the message, the blue ticks won’t be displayed. This is because Airplane mode blocks Wi-Fi and mobile data and prevents any new messages from arriving. Even, some teenagers just simply turn off the Blue ticks completely:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Go to Account
  3. Go to Privacy
  4. Toggle Read Receipts off

Finally for those nosy parents and friends that like to look over your shoulder and read your messages, teenagers often hide their most provocative messages by disabling the first line appearing on their home screen:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Go to Notifications
  3. Disable to Show Preview

Adding a password via third party apps such as AppLock for Android or iAppLock for iOS is also another trick; using WhatsApp E2EE (End to End encryption) has the added benefit (Deer, 2016, April 20) of protecting their international contacts from parents spying on their chats over the Home Wi-Fi.

WhatsApp, thanks to its privacy features, is effectively set to accelerate transactional sex in Jamaica as smartphones get cheaper and Broadband Internet becomes more universally accessible!


  1. Brown, K. (2014, November 6). WhatsApp’s new Double Blue Checkmarks proves controversial. Retrieved from
  2. Deer, L. (2016, April 20). Why Viber and WhatsApp going E2EE as Telecom Providers need encryption. Retrieved from
  3. Brown, K. (2016, February 4). WhatsApp is the #1 Mobile Messaging App in the World. Retrieved from
  4. Deer, L. (2016, June 1). Why Jamaican boys Dislike CSEC English and Why Oral Exams are necessary. Retrieved from
  5. Grant, R. (2016, July 08). Student sells sex as summer job. Retrieved from
  6. The Jamaica Star. (2016, May 19). 14 students caught having sex in house. Retrieved from
  7. The Telegraph. (2016, July 16). 16 secret WhatsApp features that everyone should know about WhatsApp. Retrieved from
  8. Wilson, N. (2016, August 14). Teen Pimps – Children Recruiting Their Peers To Have Sex With Adults. Retrieved from



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