You know, back in my day, us kids were perfectly happy to just cop a few condoms from Dad's drawer and get on with our business. We've heard plenty about kids running up ridiculous texting bills and sexting (sending erotic pictures, video, and even text via SMS and MMS) has made headlines in the last year or so. Now, though, a study by Pew Internet & American Life Project reveals that as many as 15% of teens have received or sent sexually explicit text messages.
Guess what, kids? If those pictures you're sending and passing around have underage people in them (and since these are kids, they probably do), you're in possession of child porn. How easy is it to post pictures and video online from the average phone? Pretty darned easy, making the leap from a sexted picture to an online picture for the whole world to see a remarkably easy one.
Nobody gets this: privacy is dead. It's gone. It doesn't exist anymore. Maybe it should and maybe the loss of our expectation of privacy is something to be mourned, but none of that matters. A picture on a phone is only a few thumbs away from the Web. And those pictures on the web are only a few clicks away for potential employers, college recruiters, athletic organizations, and the police.
According to CNN,
Teenage sexting usually is done as part of a relationship or would-be relationship between teens, the Pew focus groups found.
Some teens send sexts only to people with whom they are in a relationship; but those messages often are forwarded to people outside the relationship, especially after a breakup, according to the interviews.
Those texts you thought were really hot when you were exchanging them with your boyfriend? Not so hot when you break up and he posts them on any number of online websites. And certainly not so hot when every other guy in your school has already seen you naked even before you move on to your next boyfriend.
Interestingly, girls are just as likely to send and receive these sorts of messages, so guys, you're hardly immune to "the breakup effect."
Just knock it off, kids. Seriously. This is one of those teenage "I'm not thinking about the future implications of my actions" behaviors that can be seriously damaging in the long run. Whether law enforcement becomes involved, future employers become involved, or someone just gets hurt, this is one behavior of which teenagers need to steer clear and about which they need serious, early education.