By Me’Lyea Burton / LifeAtStart.com Reporter
Sexting is the sharing of nude photos or explicit sexual content.
It usually occurs through text messages, social media, emails, voice messages, and other communication devices. Although it seems harmless, sexting is more common in teens than adults, making it child pornography. As technology grows, so does the likelihood of sexting. Many people have been charged for this.
There are many dangers of sexting. One risk is loss of control. Once the sender sends the message, he or she automatically loses control of what happens to it. Another risk is called “trophy syndrome” in which the recipient brags and shares the message just to say he received them. The risk of retaliation is the most common amongst all. After a breakup, one person gets upset and exposes the other one’s pictures. The humiliation of knowing your pictures are out there can also a be a risk.
The most severe, in my opinion, are the legal and social consequences. If caught sexting, the sender, the recipient, and anyone else involved can be charged with child pornography and have to register as a sex offender. Being bullied, possibly kicked off of sports teams, or other extracurricular activities, revoked scholarships, difficulty getting a scholarship, or being fired are all social consequences.
Through media and technology, adolescents are particularly more vulnerable to the sexual content they see. During this stage, they are still learning and growing and certain behaviors can be shaped by the media and what they portray life to be like for a teen. Many teens learn more about sex and it’s risks from the media than they do from parents, teachers, and other people they know, and sooner too.
I believe that the secrecy and privacy of “faceless” forms of technology makes sexting more alluring to teens. Parents are also unaware of the many types of social media and privacy-savvy applications that are able to be downloaded. It’s easier to get away with now. Also, seeing peers do it and get away with it makes people more willing to participate.
During the case of two 15-year-old girls, they, along with whoever else was involved, were charged with child pornography due to taking pictures in their underwear. They all had a chance to take, and complete, a class on the dangers of sexting to have all charges dropped. Only the two 15-year-olds refused. Their parents filed a temporary restraining order to prevent the charges. The parents argued that the girls were not displaying child pornography and that they were in bathing suits. The federal court then granted the TRO.
I agree with the verdict because as a teen, I know how much pressure we are under, especially with all this new technology. It’s not hard to follow your own path, but it’s a lot easier to slip up with what the others are doing. I understand that we are young and the behavior is inappropriate, but all we see in the media is sex being glorified. Of course there’s going to be temptation. Our hormones are changing, and all we see around us is sex. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s the truth.
Cases like this are important because it helps with future laws that might be created to monitor or limit a person’s use of technology. If there was actually someone with a child’s pornographic pictures on their phone or circulating, many things could happen. Suicide can always be a result of a situation like sexting and the people involved would need to face their consequences. Sexting is really not worth the risks it has.
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