Sexting: two sides to the story

By: Marlee Kostiner

I first heard about sexting while flipping through the channels and stumbling upon Dr. Phil ranting about it last year.

In case you are unfamiliar with this wombo (word combo), sexting is a combination of sex and texting, indicating that it refers to the act of sending sexually explicit photographs by cell phone.
Besides the fact that sexting is all over the news, the main reason I know that the phenomena is making it’s way North is because Degrassi just aired an episode solely dedicated to the issues that can come out of sexting. But still, the major surge of sexting has been seen in the U.S.

The NY Daily News said in an article last week that nearly half of all teenagers are sending racy text messages without their parents’ knowledge, according to an online survey.

Washington Post writer, Monica Hesse, went to the First National Tween Girl Summit at Washington’s Capital Hilton on October 13, where 200 girls from around the U.S. discuss issues ranging from body image to bullying.

One of the girls she spoke to explained that she’s pretty sure that the tweens who try sexting learned about it from the shows teaching parents how to prevent their tweens from learning about sexting.

That’s food for thought.

Is it possible that the media’s freak-out about sexting is responsible for contributing to its expansion, as opposed its prevention?

Many teens have learned that sexting isn’t all fun and games – it can have dire consequences and have even gone so far as to involve the police on several occasions.

A teen-aged girl from Oregon faces at least six years in a state prison on sexual offense charges relating to a “sexting” case. The girl, now 18, pleaded guilty for using her phone to make a sexually explicit video of an underage friend and showing it to others.

Similar to this, a 14-year-old boy is facing child porn charges in Milwaukee. Police say the boy threatened to spread rumors about certain girls if they didn’t send him nude and semi-nude pictures, so they did. Police say they found 80 images from several girls between the ages of 13 and 15 on the 14-year-old’s cell phone.

When did this become common? When did it become normal for a pre-pubescent boy or girl to even want to do something like this?

When I was younger, a girl with low self-esteem just wore a lot of makeup and perhaps dated a boy who didn’t treat her properly. I never heard of a girl sending naked pictures of herself to get attention.

Rachel Simmons from the Huffington Post just reported about a New Jersey high school where senior girls post an annual “slut list” of freshman girls – except in this case it is a “badge of honor” to be called a slut. Girls have sexually objectified themselves in other ways and sexting is just the newest tool. Young girls struggle with who they are and want to be liked by as many guys as possible because that is an immediate good feeling. When a guy tells a girl that her sexual photo is hot, she feels good about herself. She gets a rush, although it’s superficial and doesn’t last for long.

“Sexting, despite its risk of mass exposure, is actually safer than the real sex girls are taught to feel so much anxiety about: it’s a no strings attached dalliance that carries no immediate risk of sexual pressure or assault.” Simmons wrote. “Again, more power for the sexter.”

Besides the fact that many would say that these girls are way too young to ascertain sexual anything, this could just be a new generation that we fail to completely understand.

(Image courtesy of Tyrashow.com)


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