You may not have heard of sexting, but if you have a teen you can be sure they know what it means. Sexting is sending nude or semi nude self portraits through cell phones to other teens. Parents may not know what kinds of images are being sent to and from their children’s phones, but many teenagers know of other teens doing this.
Some prosecutors are so outraged they have decided to charge these kids with felonies, such as child pornography charges. Some teens that send out nude or semi nude pictures of themselves could be charged with obscenities charges. Parents are upset to find out what their kids are sending to one another, but they are more upset that some kids are being labeled “Sex Offenders”, and that is now on their juvenile confidential record.
Something needs to be done, but isn’t this going a little too far? Shouldn’t these matters be left up to parents or school administrators if pictures are found on phones while they are in school?
Fox News, reported that Dante Vertani, chief public defender in Westmoreland County, Pa., Where some students went to court when they were charged after pictures were found on their phones, called the felony charges “horrendous.” He says such treatment should be reserved for sex offenders, not teenagers who might’ve used poor judgment, but meant nothing malicious.
Because laws have not caught up with technology, that’s left parents with little they can do about sexting, there are some companies that have developed software that parents can now get to monitor what’s going on and being sent to their kid’s phones. One company, WebSafety Inc has software parents can get and be notified when there are dangerous messages such as, suicide talk, gun talk or sexting being messaged on their child’s phone. Parents can also block text messaging while in certain places, such as at school. This software also includes, GPS tracking, so you know where you child is at all times, and a Porn Filter so porn is not accessible from the phones internet browser.
While this practice may be shocking to parents, it isn’t unusual to teens. Many high school students have or know of someone who has sent or received sexting messages, according a CBS News Article. Roughly 20 percent of teens admit to participating in sexting according to a nationwide survey conducted by the National Campaign to Support Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
It’s hard for most parents to understand why teenagers are taking nude self portraits of themselves and then sharing them with all their friends. While this is not the safest thing for someone to do, because we as adults know that once a picture is posted on the internet you can never really get it back. Even if you only post it on a website, say your blog for a few minutes and then change your mind and take it down, you will never know how many people copied that picture for themselves. But if we are truthful with ourselves, we will see that we are talking about hormonally charged teenagers who after all aren’t known most times for thinking before doing. It’s up to us as parents to make sure our kids are doing the right thing and know the consequences for doing the wrong thing. But we have to realize they are still just kids, with brains that are not fully grown yet and who act on hormonally drawn impulses. Kids have to be taught that this is not acceptable, but to charge them as sex offenders, I think is going too far.