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.
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