Wednesday, June 24, 2009

From Love Letters to 'Sexting'

Students used to be fearful of being caught with a steamy love letter or provocative note while in class. Teens don't pass notes anymore, and few are fearful of being caught. Today they 'sext.' For the uninitiated, 'sexting' is the sending of sexually suggestive, nude or semi-nude photos from cell phone to cell phone. USAToday has reported on a new survey which reveals that 20% of teens sext. As this study shows, young adults sext at an even higher rate.

This data is disturbing on so many levels. The mere fact that teens are snapping nude pics of themselves is bad. To then send those pics to others is really bad. But according to the information compiled by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy (linked above):
Most teens and young adults who send sexually suggestive content are sending it to boyfriends/girlfriends, others say they are sending such material to those they want to hook up with or to someone they only know online.
Everything about that statement is wrong.

This type of behavior is obviously immoral, but it is also criminal. According to this Washington Times report New Jersey police earlier this year arrested a 14-year-old girl for posting nude pictures of herself on a social-networking site. Prosecutors charged her with distribution of child pornography. I have no problem with those who post, send, and/or pass on this pornographic material being treated as child pornographers, but isn't it distressing that the one charged with the sexual exploitation of a minor is the minor in question?

This excerpt from the USAToday article explains much of the problem
Many teens say their parents are clueless: 40% tell their parents very little or nothing about what they do online.
I have three boys, and they do not have and are no where near having their own cell phones. I have, however, allowed the two oldest (13 and 12) to each have an email account, and in the case of the oldest, a Facebook profile. I allow this because I believe both forms of media are useful, and fun, communication tools. The media is not the problem. How the media is used is the issue. My boys' media usage is closely monitored, and the reasons why it is so closely monitored is regularly explained to them. Yes, my boys have heard of sexting, because I've talked with them about it. Why? Because, while they don't have cell phones, many of their friends do.

Negligence, like that quoted above, is never an acceptable excuse.

5 comments:

Nicole said...

AMEN!!!

Toby said...

Parents are too wrapped up in their own schedule/life and don't give their kids the apropriate guidance, time, and/or attention they need. There are too many parents who need to stop trying to be friends with their kids and be parents to them. By not doing these things they are creating future and current difficulties and struggles for their kids that could be avoided with a little guidance. It is very sad.

Jessica said...

I know the kids in my middle school are doing that! :(

Nicole said...

I am amazed at the kids I see running around with cell phones...9, 10, 11 years old...come on...

Fresh Dirt said...

I am amazed at how little parents know about what their children are doing in the wired world, and that some parents believe they are disturbing their "children's privacy" by watching what they do online.

Travis, good for you for talking with your kids about this stuff! I wish more parents would engage these topics with their kids.