What does sexting mean? Am I sexting? Do I want to be sexting? Is it private?

Sexting in its simplest form is known as sending someone sexual messages or pictures via any mobile device. Sexting can be done in private or with others around encouraging the behavior. Often, teens get into sexting because all their friends are doing it (or so they think). Since sexting is done via mobile device it is not a private conversation. Anyone in the world can hack your device without you even knowing. Well, what if I am using a secure system? It doesn’t matter what type of security system you have once you press send it is available for all to see. The person on the other end of your conversation could easily share it with other people causing it to go viral (and not in a good way). According to the article “11 Facts about Sexting” (2017) “17% of sexters share the messages, they receive with others, and 55% of those share them with more than one person” (11 facts about sexting, 2017). This number is huge compared to the one person you thought you were sending it to. I’m sure you are thinking my boyfriend or friend would never do that to me; however, the brain is not fully developed until about 25 years old, so how do you really know (University of Rochester Medical Center, 2017)?

Sexting can not only cause embarrassment but also ruin the reputation you once had.

As previously stated, once you send something you cannot get it back. This means that your family, friends, future employers, future children etc. might stumble across these pictures or messages. Especially in the era, we are currently in where technology is developing so rapidly most of us cannot keep up. Would you really want any of those listed above seeing you half naked? Or reading sexual messages you sent to a boyfriend whose name you cannot even remember?

Sexting is also a very serious crime in our world today.

“Currently, under California law individuals, regardless of age, who produce, distribute or possess an image of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct are committing a felony. If convicted under the child pornography statutes then an individual could receive up to 6 years in jail and will generally be required to register as a sex offender” (Mobile Media Guard, 2011). I don’t know about you but being in jail for 6 years + being a registered sex offender over a nude/ semi-nude selfie doesn’t seem worth it.

Let’s talk about your standards and how sexting fits into that.

Short answer… it shouldn’t fit your standards! You are more than just a sexual being. You were created to make an impact on this world but how can you do that locked up? Think about your goals in life and how they will be impacted by a text message. Do you really want to explain to your parents that you no longer can go finish high school or go to college because you are in trouble over something you had control over? Well, what if I’m being pressured? If you are being pressured we recommend that you talk to someone you can trust and that has your best interest at heart (i.e. family, friend, counselor, teacher, or someone like the Pregnancy Resource Center). Everyone has someone who looks out for them, you just must be willing to reach out.

Here at the PRC, we understand the pressures you face. Some of us here were in high school ourselves not that long ago and understand what you face at school to conform to the social norms. If you or someone you know has already participated in sexting, IT’S OKAY! Move forward with your life and choose today to stop this behavior, if not for yourself today for your future self! Only you can change your behavior so what you do with this information is up to you but just know, we believe in you! We stand behind you no matter what your decisions and if you need help we are always here.

References

11 Facts about Sexting. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-sexting

Laws Pertaining to Sexting in the State of California. (2011). Retrieved from http://mobilemediaguard.com/states/sexting_laws_california.html

Understanding the Teen Brain . (2017). Retrieved from https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=3051

Bullying. It’s something that is talked a lot about in today’s world. We are constantly hearing about how it is bad or not right. Many of us experience bullying on a regular basis may it be at school, at work, maybe just in the course of everyday life. We might find ourselves asking, Why should I care about bullying? It doesn’t affect me. However, maybe we don’t realize the facts surrounding bullying. A journal published in American Psychologist says this:

“There is compelling evidence of anxiety as an outcome of victimization, impacting young adults” (Copeland et al., 2013, p.7). “Consistent with media reports, childhood peer victimization has been tied to greater risk for suicidal behavior (attempts and completions)” (Mcdougall, Vaillancourt, 2015, p.304).

If you are bullying someone there is a real possibility that you could be contributing to anxiety or suicidal behavior (attempts and completions). Maybe still it is not enough to know what it might be doing to someone else, but it may not just be a problem for someone else to deal with:

According to the National Center for Education Statistics “Students who are both targets of bullying and engage in bullying behavior are at greater risk for both mental health and behavior problems than students who only bully or are only bullied” (Center for Disease Control, 2016, p. 1).

What does it look like in today’s world?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics “More than one out of every five (20.8%) students report being bullied” (Pacers National Bullying Prevention Center, 2016, p. 1).

It’s not just about what other people are doing anymore. It’s about what you are doing and what people are saying to you. I imagine every person can think of a time that they or someone that they know has been bullied. So it’s important to be informed.

People can talk about anything or anyone in school or online. Some of the most common things that are talked about amongst young adults are who is pregnant or thinks they might be pregnant, what someone’s sexual identification is, or who is sleeping with who. All these things are big parts of our world today and they are easy to get caught up in.

It is very common for us at the Pregnancy Resource Center to see young women who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. As a result, one of the things that these women might be worried about is how their peers will react. Will they be pushed away by their friends? What will happen to their reputation? Will they be bullied by family as well to make decisions they are not comfortable with? In any case, it’s important that young women find comfort in some type of support system even if that’s only in their peer groups. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine how different your life would be if you were her… Choose today to see situations such as teen pregnancy, in a different light. Offer hope to those in unique situations and learn to stand out among those who only live to tear down others.

Whether it’s online to their face bullying has the same kind of effects. Sites like Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, and other social media create places where it’s easy for young adults to talk about others while remaining “anonymous”. While these sites are great for connecting with peers and family they often breed hate because of the anonymity they offer. Be careful not to be dragged into that lifestyle.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics “More than half of bullying situations (57%) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied” (Hawkins, Pepler, Craig, 2001, p. 519).

It may not seem like speaking up for someone will do much, but imagine what it would feel like to have someone in your corner? You can make a difference.

If you or someone you know is struggling with being a bully or being bullied call us (760) 945-4673 or come by. We would love to talk out these situations with you.

 

References

Bullying Statistics. Pacers National Bullying Prevention Center (2016). http://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/stats.asp

Center for Disease Control. (2016). Understanding Bullying: Fact Sheet. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/bullying_factsheet.pdf

Copeland, W. E., Wolke, D., Angold, A., & Costello, E. J. (2013). Adult Psychiatric Outcomes of Bullying and Being Bullied by Peers in Childhood and Adolescence. JAMA Psychiatry,70(4), 425.

Hawkins, D. L., Pepler, D. J., & Craig, W. M. (2001). Naturalistic Observations of Peer Interventions in Bullying. Social Development,10(4), 519.

Mcdougall, P., & Vaillancourt, T. (2015). Long-term adult outcomes of peer victimization in childhood and adolescence: Pathways to adjustment and maladjustment. American Psychologist,70(4), 300-310.