According to this article (Sending racy photos is common among teens) in eSchool News, some 22% of teenage girls and 11% of girls 13-16 send nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves to others. Some 18% of boys are sending similar pictures of themselves as well. One third of teen boys and one quarter of teen girls report having pictures of others that were shared with them that were not originally meant for their eyes. These pictures are being passed via cell phone and the Internet via posts or email or IM. I don’t know about you but this is a different world than I grew up in. And it is having an impact on kids.
These kids do not realize that most of these pictures are technically “kiddie porn” and that creating or even having one of these images could be considered a felony! Just think about that a second. There are other risks as well. Talk about communicating a message that one is “available” or “easy.” A lot of these images are going to people students do not know face to face or in-person. Who knows were some of these images end up? Some of them are bound to come back to haunt these kids in the future.
The article gives some messages that should be communicated to parents and students.
For parents, the initiative recommends:
1. Talking to kids about what they are doing in cyberspace.
2. Knowing who kids are communicating with.
3. Considering limitations on electronic communication.
4. Being aware of what teens are posting publicly.
5. Setting expectations.
1. Don’t assume anything you send or post is going to remain private.
2. There is no changing your mind in cyberspace–anything you send or post will never truly go away.
3. Don’t give in to the pressure to do something that makes you uncomfortable, even in cyberspace.
4. Consider the recipient’s reaction.
5. Nothing is truly anonymous.
These are messages that should be taught in schools though. They should be reinforced regularly because too many people just don’t understand what they are doing and how it could effect them in the future.