Let’s talk cellphones, sexting and teens.
There is a lot in the media about sexting. Every topic from teens committing suicide over sexting issues, to adults sharing inappropriate visuals with youths. But, here’s my question, when sexting remains between youths only, what does it mean and who’s the more responsible or accountable party, the sender or the requester? What should the punishment be for a kid who received an unwanted sext?
As images and user-generated content are our specialty, we continually watch and study the circumstances around who is sharing what. Since we know that generally speaking when adults are involved with sending or receiving illicit content with minors, the responsible party is usually the adult; there are many questions left unanswered when the senders and receivers are underage.
Do we convict all teens who have participated in sexting as sex offenders and have their future forever changed by an image? Consider the following before answering.
- Your child received a sext message, yet, your child didn’t request it.
- Your child sent a sext message, but was coerced into sending it?
- Your child was part of a group that received the same sext as a joke, yet the image is very real?
- What if your child sent an inappropriate image assuming it would stay between the intended recipient, but now the recipient has used the image against them by sending it to many others?
- What if an inappropriate image of your child was taken and shared without your child knowing?
Intent may be the last, yet most important variable in the sexting phenomenon. Since there have already been cases of young teens criminally charged and thus registering as sex offenders for the transmittal of child pornographic material, this punishment can’t be a “one size fits all” solution. It would be worth discussing and sharing, due to the many circumstances that do exist. As parents or guardians, Iconsidering the aforementioned scenarios, how do we punish young sexters? For me, I’d rather know that the punishment for a 13 yr old who made a singular bad decision about sending a sexually explicit image will fit the instance, versus, the punishment for a group of 17 yr old boys collecting nude images from all of their classmates in order to coerce more out of them.
If you still aren’t certain that sexting is a big enough issue to discuss, watch the below video about a recent group of teens caught in a sexting scandal and then answer.
What are the appropriate punishments for requesting or sending sexts.
Sexting Scandal Could Bring Criminal Charges.