Articles of Interest to Parents
Risky Trends in Teen Texting (Article taken from Laguna Niguel's "The Beeline News")
If you've been watching the news lately, then you've probably already heard of the current text messaging trend that's emerged in the teen culture; it's called "sexting". It's the tag name given for sending and receiving sexually explicit pictures, videos, and messages.
Unfortunately, teenagers can be impulsive and rarely think of the consequences that could result from their behavior; nor do they stop to consider that digital images can't be retrieved once they are sent; they remain available on the internet forever. Primarily it is teen girls who are texting provocative pictures and videos of themselves to their boyfriend or current crush, but the reality is that these images rarely if ever remain private. All it takes is a relationship-ending fight or relentless peer pressure placed on the receiver and the images are shared. They're posted on the internet, social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, or sent via cell phone which rapidly spreads them around school campuses.
If the humiliation, taunts, and cyberbullying weren't enough to discourage sexting, teens are finding risque images of themselves posted online long after they were thought to have been deleted or removed from websites. These enduring images are also preventing teens from being accepted to their chosen university and are negatively affecting future employment prospects.
The social ramifications that result from sexting are serious, but the legal consequences can be life-changing. Laws have kept pace with quickly evolving mobile technology, which means that by definition sexting is illegal. It's forbidden under federal Penal Code section 288.2, which states that the creation, distribution, or possession of child pornography is a felony offense, meaning both the sender and/or the receiver of sexting images may be charged if either person is under 18 years of age! These criminal charges have already been filed in other states and the teens now have a lifetime requirement to register as sex offenders! Please take the time to discuss with your children the appropriate use of computers, web-cams cell phones, and the internet. Having a candid discussion with them now may very well protect them in the future.