I’m curious to know how many teenagers have either sent or received a “sext” message?
I just read this article from the NY Times, “A Girl’s Nude Photo, and Altered Lives,” telling the story of an 8th grade girl who sent a nude picture of herself to her new boyfriend and the fallout after it got sent out to hundreds of people in her school. Every parent and student should take 10 minutes to read this article and really wrestle with what it’s saying. Here are a few quotes from the article above:
“But adults face a hard truth. For teenagers, who have ready access to technology and are growing up in a culture that celebrates body flaunting, sexting is laughably easy, unremarkable and even compelling: the primary reason teenagers sext is to look cool and sexy to someone they find attractive.”
… “But when that sexually explicit image includes a participant — subject, photographer, distributor or recipient — who is under 18, child pornography laws may apply.
“I didn’t know it was against the law,” Isaiah said.
That is because culturally, such a fine distinction eludes most teenagers. Their world is steeped in highly sexualized messages. Extreme pornography is easily available on the Internet. Hit songs and music videos promote stripping and sexting.”
… “The prevalence of under-age sexting is unclear and can often depend on the culture of a particular school or circle of students. An Internet poll conducted for The Associated Press and MTV by Knowledge Networks in September 2009 indicated that 24 percent of 14- to 17-year-olds had been involved in “some type of naked sexting,” either by cellphone or on the Internet. A December 2009 telephone poll from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project found that 5 percent of 14- to 17-year-olds had sent naked or nearly naked photos or video by cellphone, and that 18 percent had received them. Boys and girls send photos in roughly the same proportion, the Pew survey found.”
It’s important for us to remember that as terrible as the nude photos are, the real issue we must address is the heart. God love us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). We are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). As Christians, our bodies are the temple of the living God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Parents, is this something you’ve discussed with your teenager? Do you talk about sexual purity often enough with your teen that some of the awkwardness has worn off and honesty is easier?
Teenagers, how would you feel about your parents looking through your photos and text messages? Why would you feel like it’s an invasion of privacy? Is there something that you’re hiding?