|Sexting: Technology Means New Risks|
“Sexting” is sending and receiving nude or semi-nude photos via text message, and it’s a trend that’s growing among middle and high school students. According to a recent study from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 20 percent of teens say they have sent or posted nude or semi-nude photos of themselves, and 39 percent of teens have sent or posted sexually suggestive messages.
What many teens don’t realize is that sending sexually suggestive photos of themselves and other teens is a federal offense. Students who have been caught “sexting” are now facing child pornography charges and, if convicted, may be required to register as a sex offender and may face prison.
Commonly, teens also don’t understand the global nature of the internet. Many assume that because the picture or message they sent was private, it won’t be posted to a public site like Facebook or MySpace. Once posted to these sites, however, photos and messages can be viewed by potential employers, college recruiters, teachers, coaches, parents, friends and strangers!
Teens also fail to realize that once they post something on the Web, it will never truly go away. Even if a photo or message is deleted, there is no way to know who has already copied the photo and posted it elsewhere. More than a third of teens say that it’s common for sexually suggestive photos and messages to be shared with individuals other than the intended recipient.
What parents can do?
• Just as you talk to your teens about sex, dating and relationships, talk to them about what they are doing in cyberspace.
Please contact On Point for more information.