Friday, February 26, 2010

Texting, sexting and digital harassment

photo from: here

I recently watched a special on MTV news about "Sexting in America" explaining the problems with sexual text messages being created and shared among teens. They shared the story of two teens and how sending these messages had a dramatic impact on their life. One girl ended up having a picture she sent to her boyfriend of her topless forwarded all over the school and eventually getting to the principle. The other guy forwarded naked pictures of his 16 year old girlfriend to everyone in his email address book and got arrested for distribution of child porn and is now a registered sex offender. As I kept watching I hoped that there were teens watching the special and that it was going to make them realize that their actions are not innocent and that they do have consequences. The laws for child porn have not caught up with the sexting phenomenon but they seem to be progressing and more and more teens (and adults) are being prosecuted for these crimes.

It blew my mind to think that kids this young are being pressured to share nude photos with other people and that for some of them the thought never crosses their mind that it will get around school. There wasn't texting or sexting when I was that age, but I do know that I would not be dumb enough to let everyone at PHS see me naked via my boyfriends cell phone.

Not only is sexting an issue but now there is cyber bulling as well, this can happen via text, facebook or myspace and its also occurring in record numbers. During the sexting special, MTV kept showing commercials about thinking before you forward a mean text about someone or write something mean in a facebook message or email (you can view the commercials here). There have been several teens in recent months that have committed suicide due to comments that have been made about them on the internet or in text messages. I remember there being bullies growing up and being made fun of, but really things just seem to have gone too far.

I know that we've all probably sent a naughty text (hopefully nothing that got us in trouble, I mean we are all adults here) and that maybe we've said something mean on facebook or in an email but maybe we all need to think twice. If you have kids that are teens, make sure that you tell them there are consequences for the things they say on the internet and via text message and those mean messages can be stuck out in "internet land" forever. I know that we all try to stay away from drama, gossip and things that can get us in trouble, but lets remind the young people we are around of these ideas as well.

So I wanna know, what are your thoughts, what do you think about sexting and digital harassment? Have you ever been a victim of a mean text or email, maybe even said something rude to someone on Facebook or Myspace?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Stuff like that wasn't a problem when we were in school, you're right. The closest I ever got to saying mean things was in a fight with a girl whole stole my first boyfriend (oh, Matthew). I told her to shut up, which was a lot for me at the time.

It worries me more because of my daughters. Granted, one is two and the other isn't going to be born until April, but still. I just hope I raise them better and smarter than that.