Sexting: the Danger of Being Exposed for Teenagers

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Have you ever heard of the term “sexting”? Sexting is defined as sending someone sexually explicit photographs via mobile phone. Sexts can also be received and forwarded. Sexting is typically carried out deliberately, with people sending sexts about themselves. Because sexting is a recent phenomenon, it has not been adequately researched and proper limits to sexting have not yet been worked out. Studies show that most sexting started from teenage peer pressure. I chose the topic sexting because I feel as if we as teens should be aware of the major consequences we could face if we were to do something as minor as send sexts.

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Sexting can be a symbol or manifestation of sexual addiction, which is an illness like any other addiction. For some, sexting is the primary behavior in several addictions. For others, an all-consuming interest in pornography, sexual encounter with sex workers, pathological infidelity, or cybersex relationships. Similar to other addictions, sexual addiction is progressive in nature. With mobile devices making sexting constantly available, the addiction for sexting has become more widespread ( Matte 1).

Studies show that teens of both sexes who engaged in sexting behavior were more likely to have begun dating and to have had sex. Sexting was more prevalent amongst girls who reported other risky sexual behaviors. Sexting was less common in 2013 than 2008. Researchers found that sixteen percent of boys had sent a sext, down from eighteen percent in 2008. Among girls, fourteen percent had ever sexted down from seventeen percent. In 2008, fifty percent of boys reported receiving a sext. In 2013, this figure was down by nine percentage points to forty-one. Fewer boys received a sext in 2013 than in 2008. Amongst girls, however, there was no change: around 30% of girls received sexts in both 2008 and 2013. Sexting was not popular until males started forwarding pictures. In 2008, twenty-seven percent of boys had forwarded a sext, but five years later less than half that figure reported having done so. Twelve percent of all the boys in the school. The rate of forwarding among girls had dropped even more dramatically: down to eight percent from twenty-one percent.One possibility, suggested by researchers, is that students may be increasingly aware of the risks incurred in sharing explicit images of others. High profile court cases in which sexting teenagers have been convicted of the crime of exploiting a minor may have had a chilling effect (Salaky 1)

As the researchers point out: One of the worst case scenarios is when teenagers sext sexually explicit pictures of themselves, they are subsequently accused of distribution of child pornography. The practice is not illegal when photos are shared between consenting adults, but when minors are involved, sexual-exploitation and child-pornography laws can come into play, so great care is needed in the handling of sexting cases involving people under 18.

A study published in January 2013 based on interviews of 378 state prosecutors who had worked on technology-facilitated crimes against children found that 62 percent had handled a sexting case involving juveniles. Thirty-six percent of prosecutors in the case reported that they had filed charges in these case and 21 percent had filed felony charges. Majority had charged felony child pornography production, and 16 percent had sexting cases that resulted in sentencing to mandatory sex offender registration. In the cases in which charges were filed, 62 percent had juveniles charged with felonies related to sexting, of which 84 percent had been charged with felony child pornography production. Seventeen percent of the prosecutors reported that charges were brought even in cases where images did not show sexually explicit conduct or exhibition of genitals. Most prosecutors had sexting cases resolved by plea agreements or juvenile court. Half of them had cases sent to diversion, 26 percent had cases ending in dismissal of charges, and 4 percent had gone to criminal trial. To file charges, most prosecutors mentioned that they would need some type of additional offense, such as harassment, unruly behavior, or stalking, to file charges and that the relationship would have had to move beyond boyfriend-girlfriend. Some common factors that led to charges being filed included malicious intent, bullying, coercion, or harassment or photographs taken by a boyfriend or girlfriend who then distributed them widely with the motive of harming the other person's reputation. Another situation where charges were brought involved a youth who sent images of herself to many people after there had already been an intervention. When the images were forwarded to someone without the victim's consent, it may also have led to charges. If there was a large age difference between the people involved, charges were brought.Sexting laws are a relatively new phenomena in the law. Though specific teen sexting laws are not present in a majority of states, the trend appears to be towards more widespread adoption of sexting laws.It’s also a federal crime to use a computer to ship, transport, receive, distribute, or reproduce for distribution a depiction of a minor actually engaging in sexually explicit conduct, or any material that otherwise constitutes child pornography. It’s another federal crime to promote or solicit sexually explicit material involving a minor.

Digital literacy refers to an individual’s ability to find, evaluate, produce, and communicate clear information through writing and other forms of communication on various digital platform. It it also a part od media literacy. Digital literacy specifically applies to media from the internet, smartphones, video games, and other nontraditional sources.

Due to kids lacking digital etiquette, sexts can be exposed. Digital ettiquette is having integrity, or self management, and general responsibilty for your as well as yourself on the internet and treating people like you woukd in real life. Although sexting is not right, it is still wrong to expose information or pictures that someone trusted you with. Digital ettiquette plays a large roll in sexting. With teenagers using technology, it gives them more confidence to do things that they usually would not do in person.

Sexting shows poor judgement when using digital technology.In 2007, 32 Victoria teenagers were prosecuted as a result as a result of sexual activ In January 2008, a survey of 1,200 teenagers reported that one in five had sent explicit photos of themselves. Child pornography charges were brought against six teenagers in Greensburg, Pennysylvania in January 2009 after three girls sent sexually explicit photographs to three male classmates. Child pornography includes any films, photographs, publications, or computer games that shows a person who is under 18 performing a sexual act or posing in a indecent manner. Sexually explicit is defined as genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex.

When “nudes” are exposed, sometimes it can result into bullying, Bullying is an old problem that remains difficult to bring under control. Studies show that bullying brings emotional distress. It also causes withdrawal from friends and family members and avoidance of school or other group gatherings. Sometimes, it causes changes in your mood, behavior, sleep, and appetite.     

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