Posted December 17th, 2009
Sexting is the new term that has been coined over the past year and its definition is the act of sending, receiving and/or forwarding of naked pictures of oneself and/or friends or classmates via cell phone. This is happening all over the country, putting adolescents at risk for criminal charges, humiliation and isolation from their peers.
Last January, three girls (ages 14 or 15) in Greensburg, Pa., were charged with disseminating child pornography for sexting their boyfriends. The boys who received the images were charged with possession. A teenager in Indiana faces felony obscenity charges for sending a picture of his genitals to female classmates. A 15-year-old girl in Ohio and a 14-year-old girl in Michigan were charged with felonies for sending along nude images of themselves to classmates. Some of these teens have pleaded guilty to lesser charges; others have not. If convicted, these young people may have to register as sex offenders, in some cases for a decade or two. Similar charges have been filed in cases in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.
The website, http://www.Thatsnotcool.com is an excellent resource for parents to share with their teens regarding sexting, “textual harassment”, bullying, peer pressure, and abusive relationships and how to deal with these issues. It has videos, “Call-Out Cards”, and a chat section where teens can share their experiences and advice on related issues.