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THINK YOUR KID IS NOT 'SEXTING'?

 Martinez, E. (December 2009). “Think Your Kid is Not ‘Sexting’? Think Again…” CBS News.

OVERVIEW

“Sexting,” defined as the “sharing of sexually explicit photos, videos and chat by cell phone or online,” is a common problem among American young adults. More and more young people are sending and receiving nude photos, often not thinking about the consequences that might come about as the result. Of the 1,247 young adults between the ages of 14-24  surveyed during a recent Associated Press MTV poll, some 10 percent stated that they had sent naked pictures of themselves via their cell phone or through email. 14 percent of those answered “yes” when asked whether or not they suspected the pictures were shared without permission, and 17 percent of those who stated they had received naked pictures admitted passing them along to other people.

In addition to the criminal nature of these activities, another much more serious consequence of the sharing of sexually explicit photos in this way is the affect it has on the people in the photos. In recent years, at least two teenage suicides have been linked to the unwanted spread of nude photos among peers.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION

  1. How big of a problem do you think  “sexting” is in the communities in which you live?
  2. This article mentions the legal and at least one social consequence of sharing sexually explicit materials. Can you think of other consequences these activities might have that are not mentioned in the article?
  3. How can we deter “sexting” when our culture puts such a high premium on body image and sexual prowess?
  4. Should a teenagers electronic communications (texting, emailing, etc.) be monitored more closely by his or her parents? Where does one draw the line between keeping children safe and invading their privacies?

IMPLICATIONS

The sending and receiving of sexually explicit materials has far-reaching implications in our youth. This is not a problem that can be ignored, nor is it a problem that is going to go away any time soon. Our children must learn the difference between what is appropriate and what is inappropriate behavior, or else consequences such as suicides and imprisonment will be more and more prevalent. Parents and those who work closely with youth need to both understand and know how to counteract the cultures they are exposed to every day, including the prevailing culture of sex.