It’s all over the news, SEXTING. It’s an epidemic, worse than swine flu or the black plague. All our children are spending hours, every day, sending each other naked pictures with their cell phones. When they should be reading To Kill A Mocking Bird or studying geometry they are actually standing around naked, with their cell phone in hand. When I think they are bowling and eating french fries, they are gazing provocatively at their phones wearing nothing but a pair of panties. According to NPR one out of six teens has sent naked or partially naked photos via their cell phone.”
I do need to make one point clear. Not all sexting involves pictures. Sometimes it’s just teasing and flirting via the cell phone.
‘DON’T DO IT, DON’T SEXT!’ Screaming that at my daughters and their friends, over and over and over probably won’t keep them from sexting.
Alex, my husband, thought we should take away her phone. But she has to have a phone so I can stalk her throughout the day.
Finally, I decided I was going to actually have to talk about this issue like a grown up. Generally, when I take on a serious topics I like to have two or three kids at a time so they can form a “don’t smoke crack gang” or in this case a ‘no sexting gang’ . And the car is, of course, the perfect place for lectures becasue they can’t escape.
I know fear of legal repercussion doesn’t exists in the teen aged brain. They drive too fast because they don’t think they will ever get caught by the police. They try the double back flip on the trampoline because they don’t think they will ever get hurt. And the kids who send naked pictures to all their friends believe no adult will ever see the photos.
So, “It’s against the law”, will not be part of my lecture.
Here’s how the conversation went with three cute 13/14 year old girls in the car.
“Ok , I’m about to give you really good reasons to never ever send naked, or half naked pictures of yourself to anybody, ever. Reason number one, I want you to imagine the grossest, most disgusting guy at school. Chances are he will end up with a copy of the picture on his phone. And here’s why. Your boy friend loves you now, but in six month when you break is heart he’s going to be mad. So, he’s going to send his best friend the picture of your boobs and say, ‘she sent me this on our one month anniversary”. That friend never loved you and probably doesn’t even like you that much so he sends it to his friends on the track team. And guess what, none of them will ever delete that picture. They will all be looking at the picture of your boobs for the next two or three years.
Reason two: All guys share pictures of naked girls. If a boy has a picture of a naked girl, he will show it to people. This doesn’t make him a bad guy, it just makes him a guy. Show and tell is part of their DNA.
And finally girls, I know a guy who has a seventeen year old son and everytime he gets hot pictures of girl, he shows them to his dad.” When I said that I got a round of ‘ooooh gross,’ from the back seat and I figured I’d made my point.
One of the real problems with sexting in high school is the simple fact that high school is a big fish bowl and you see the same people everyday for four years.
As a grown up if I do something embarrassing in front of people I can simply avoid most of them for the rest of my life. In high school you have to live with your mistakes until graduation.
In the end, the best thing you can do for your daughter is give her the information and facts needed to make the right decision, trust her judgment and wisdom…or make sure she never ever owns a cell phone with a camera.