So here’s my overview from last Thursday and Friday‘s conversation on sexting:
- Yes, it can be problematic, as can almost any form of communication.
- Texting is (currently) a ubiquitous communication method, and it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon, so as parents, teachers, and caring adults, we have to make our peace with it.
- Texting about relationships and sex isn’t going anywhere either.
- There are serious and substantial legal issues tied up in minors taking and/or exchanging nude or sexual images of themselves. Teenagers (and everyone, really) needs to be aware of the legal ramifications of their actions.
Basically we need to educate ourselves about (1) texting as a means of communication – it’s not all bad, and (2) the legal ramifications of a minor taking pictures of him or herself and passing them along. Then we need to move along to having conversations with children about the potential legal ramifications.
What we do not need to do is unilaterally and without instigation take our children’s cell phones away, remove their texting privileges, or lecture them about morality and modesty. We need to listen far more and talk far less about sexting, just as we do about so many topics.
If you want to learn more, or are looking for places to send your kids to gather more information, here are a few other places to read more about sexing:
- Wikipedia article (or, The Basic Overview)
- Scarleteen.com (a great place for teens to learn more)
- Textual Misconduct (on Slate.com)
- Yes Means Yes blog (I can’t go on enough about this one! It’s really great.)
I am 20 years old, our friends have a son who is 15. He gets photos from girls younger than him all the time. They are topless or in their underwear. He shows them to adults! He doesn’t understand that it is illegal though, and I tried to explain that to him.
What are these children going to be like when they are my age? What are future children going to be like? They are learning so much more now then I ever knew at that age.
Children know a lot more technology then their parents and since the parents are not as knowledgeable they don’t know whats going on until it’s too late.
It is quite the problem, isn’t it? But we can let future adults and future children take care of themselves for right now and just tend to those who are here with us now. I encourage you to talk with your friend’s son, maybe pass on some of the articles I posted to. He should delete those pictures from his phone and computer – and continue to delete all others that his friends send to him. And maybe he could even forward on those articles to his friends too.
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