*Giving credit to IMNOOB71, one of my classmates, for mentioning sexting in a recent post and inspiring me to create this one.*
Random studies will tell us that one in five Americans are chronically late , urinate in the pool or believe in witches. You can easily fact-check these miscellaneous statistics on your mobile phone – of which, one in five American teens use to “sext” with.
From beepers to BBM, there’s no doubt that mobile technologies have helped teens experiment with social skills. But, has it been for the right reasons?
Defined by Merriam Webster , sexting is “the sending of sexually explicit messages or images by cell phones.” Not-so-ironically, the term was first coined in 2007, when the camera application was born.
As flip phones evolved into minicomputers and more teens took ownership, youth sexuality progressed from innocence to scandal in the face of technology. With 78 percent of teens owning a cell phone and using it incessantly [or so it seems], we now know what the fuss may be about.
Not only have 20 percent experimented with sexting, but 20 percent of this number has sent semi-nude or nude photos or video of themselves. To put this into perspective, for every 1,000 teenagers, there are explicit photos/videos of 40 different people, floating around.
And teens are overlooking that these photos don’t disappear, but rather, will wind up online or on mobile applications such as Instagram, and enter cell phone company databases for the duration of history.
Sexting is a moral problem, but it has now become a legal concern as well. Over recent years, sexting has triggered numerous suicides and humiliation by students who were victimized, mostly by a trusted significant other. To crack down on such situations, law enforcement created two categories to classify sexting misconduct.
First, the law questions whether the photo, video or communication itself is legal, which is intended to protect minors or harassment cases. Second, the use of technology to obtain and/or distribute the explicit content is questioned. The FBI provides the example of a school computer as an illegal device used.
Even though the law is taking action, this action simply isn’t enough. The sexting frenzy has brought awareness to schools, parents, the law and merchandise alike. Products allowing parents to monitor their child’s texts are now available. But, is this really the answer or, is there a better method to combat sexting?
As technology progresses, the open avenues to communication will only increase. Awareness and parental monitoring simply aren’t enough anymore.