By KRISTEN TANTILLO
Cell phones are a major method of communication. Whether it be talking on the phone, texting, or sending picture/video messages, this is how we keep in touch. Pre-paid phones are easily accessible and are sold almost everywhere we look. The phones are extremely convenient and easy to use for Generation Y because we all probably received our first cellphone when we were young teenagers. Almost everyone is carrying a cellphone; it seems that even young children are talking on their own Blackberries.
Since minors have access to cell phones, they keep in touch with many people. Young teens and children are exposed to more adult situations resulting in a loss of innocence, which has caused an outbreak of “sexting.” Sexting is when nude or provocative pictures or text are sent or exchanged with another person via cell phone.
This is mostly common for people who are in relationships. According to a survey on MSN.com 39 percent of teens have sent inappropriate pictures and 48 percent of teens said that they have received these pictures. What these teens do not realize when sending them is that there is a large chance that other people will be able to view the picture as well. Over 15 percent of the people who received the sexting messages have admitted to “sharing” the photos with others. This can be very degrading to the sender if he or she were to find out other peers had seen the intimate photos.
“That thought hadn’t even crossed my mind when I sent the picture that someone other than my boyfriend would see it,” said a 20- year-old female of CCC who would like to stay anonymous.
When the picture leaks out, it can cause humiliation, torture and embarrassment. Jessica Logan was an 18-year -old girl from Ohio who sexted her boyfriend pictures of herself. She thought he was a safe and reliable guy and would have the respect not to share them with others. After they broke up, the pictures of her showed up all over school and she was harassed by both girls and boys. This torment went so far that Jessica fell into depression and eventually committed suicide. Unfortunately, Logan’s life is not the only one that ended due to sexting.
Sexting is more than just a casual way of being provocative, and can cause incredible embarrassment for many. Jessica Logan’s boyfriend must now face the possibility that he helped cause her death. Logan’s mother is trying to take legal action to punish him for the loss of her daughter.
Teens who are caught sending or receiving nude pictures of minors can be punished with possession of child pornography, and can go to jail. An adult (over the age of 18) that possesses the pictures faces harsher sentencing and is punished more severely.
According to ABC News, Alabama authorities arrested four middle-school students for exchanging nude photos of themselves. And in Rochester, N.Y., a 16-year-old boy is now facing up to seven years in prison for forwarding a nude photo of a 15-year-old girlfriend to his friends.
“I have received a mass video-message titled ‘Pass The Slut On’, which showed a naked girl doing a little sexy dance and showing off her body. I was very taken back by this text message considering it was very unexpected and I had no idea who she was,” said Andrew Williams, a 23-year-old male student at CCC.
Sexting is an indecent act which can have grave consequences. It is more common for younger teens to sext but adults do it too. A survey on abc.com confirmed that 20 percent of adults, ages 20-26 send pictures of themselves to be a little “flirtatious.” Misusing technology can hinder employment opportunities, and inappropriate pictures will hurt a job seeker’s chance of being hired, according to Dr. Charles J. Kocher, a criminal justice professor at CCC.
He also added, “These teens are not mature enough to understand that your study buddy is not someone you are going to be with forever. Putting all your trust into that one person is an immature action. Schools should help the students understand what sexting is, and what the dangers are. Households should instill family values to prevent this, even peer groups would be very helpful. ” No matter what methods of education are used, it is crucial that young people are made aware of how sexting can negatively impact their lives.