Since the advent of an internet enable cellphone, or even just a picture phone, there has been a problem with the content that people are sending each other spreading around and leading to legal issues. These items being inappropriate pictures, messages, videos, etc. A large majority of those getting into trouble are teenagers.
What is the Problem?
1 in 5 American teens have admitted to “sexting” before. When teenagers get caught sharing inappropriate photos or videos it is considered child pornography. This is extremely serious and those caught up in sending or receiving the pictures are often tried as sex offenders.
In school, teenagers are educated about drinking and sex but there is no widespread plan of action for teaching youths about sexting. They might think it is all fun and games, but there needs to be a real show of how devastating the consequences can be. This education should including addressing the following situations:
- Explain that retaliation is not the way. If someone sends their partner a racy picture but they break up, there is a temptation to get back at them by spreading the picture. This will obviously cause a lot of problems for both parties.
- Posting pictures on social media. Most kids know it’s a bad idea to post pictures of themselves with drugs or alcohol but they might not consider pictures where they or others in the photo might be in an inappropriate situation.
- Hammer in the realities. Educators need to keep reinforcing that although something is deleted from their phone, it is likely still out there somewhere and most anyone could access it.
A legal battle isn’t just about keeping a teenager out of jail, it is a lot of time, money, emotional distress and possibly media. To prevent any legal trouble, talk to your teenagers about the consequences of posting inappropriate media online.