Beware of Sexting

6 Dec

The links section on the sidebar contains interesting blogs and articles about sexting to add to our own research. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy conducted a survey in 2008 among over 1,000 teens and young adults about “sex and tech.” They found that 20% of teens overall say they have sent/posted nude or semi-nude pictures or video of themselves, among many other statistics.

The Apple Anti-Sexting App article says, “Apple has just patented a technology that allows parents to block users from sending sexually explicit texts. The app isn’t on the market yet, but it’s on its way.” This was surprising because it doesn’t seem like anything any parents would actually use (it’s a little extreme) but apparently it is coming out soon. It’s probably because of all the cases of teenagers being charged with child pornography for distributing nude pictures through texting. Some of these instances are discussed in Sexting Consequences.

The legal measures for sexting are very serious and can stain a child’s criminal record. Law officials are looking for ways to change the laws because they aren’t fit for the situation and were meant for real sex offenders. For example, “Unknowingly opening a sexually explicit photo from an underage woman or man can lead to child pornography charges. Sexting a non-consenting person may lead to harassment allegations. These are just two examples of how sexting can create criminal charges.” One that we thought was too extreme was a 14-year old girl who was charged with possession and distribution of child pornography after posting sexually explicit photos on MySpace. There should be consequences for these teenagers so that they learn their lesson, but the legal ramifications can ruin these young people’s reputations.

If sexting used to be something done only by hormonal teenagers because they could not necessarily act on the messages, that is not the case now. Many adults of all ages have admitted to sexting, whether it is to their significant others to keep things exciting, long-distance relationships, having some flirtatious fun, hopes of being intimate with the person, or cheating on their spouses. Celebrities even engage in sexting and then get caught for the whole world to know. Brett Favre, Tony Parker and Tiger Woods all got caught sending dirty texts to women who were not their wives.

Sexting in not just for kids. It has become a trend for all ages, including 50+. “Boomers, often sandwiched between teenagers, aging parents, and busy work schedules, are taking advantage of the new technology because it’s fast, easy, and fun.” As older generations get more accustomed to the new technology, they have also caught on with sexting. Sexting is definitely more appropriate for this older crowd and not illegal by any means, but it could still have consequences. Pictures can get leaked, which would be very embarrassing and people can actually lose jobs over it if it becomes office drama.

The moral of the story is that you should be the one to decide if sexting is appropriate or not. Don’t send sexually explicit messages to minors or someone who is non-consenting. Don’t send pictures to someone who could potentially show someone else. Keep it private and if you must, only sext your boyfriend/girlfriend if you absolutely trust them and can’t see them in person. You never know, you might get famous one day and the pictures you send now will end up online!

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