Teen Texting Gone Wild

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Back in December, I noticed several articles about teens and “sexting” — sending provocative email messages via cell phone texting. This article on ABC News does a good job of pointing out all of the
issues: Sexting teens can go too far.

The dangerous combination of teenagers behaving provocatively and impulsively is not new, but the accessibility to the technology is. With cell phone cameras, they have been handed a
tool so easy to use for some it’s impossible to pass up….

What teens don’t realize is just how serious the consequences can be. News reports are increasingly documenting legal repercussions after indecent photos appear online. And attorneys say there are many unanswered questions about whether young people who send their own photos could face prosecution for obscenity or child pornography.

And that’s the sticky wicket. The ABC article describes how a 17-year-old boy faces pornography charges for posting revealing photos
that his girlfriend sent him via cell phone. WBNS-TV in Ohio reported on a 15-year-old girl who was charged with a felony after
sending revealing photos of herself to friends.

So what does that mean for us parents?

First, make sure that our kids understand that everything done electronically is traceable. No matter where that picture ends up, there
are ways to trace it back to whoever started it. No escaping the consequences.

Then, some frank discussion about what those consequences might be in order. Based on what happened at a dear friend’s house (and I’m not telling the whole story here, but we’ve seen this firsthand), simply letting teens know that we parents know what’s going on can make a big difference.

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