A new slang term has recently been a hot topic of discussion. Sexting refers to sending explicit text messages or pictures of a sexual nature. Although many parents think their children wouldn’t engage in this activity, sexting has become a more and more common practice among teenagers. A practice which often leads to devastating consequences.
Often times these messages fall into the wrong hands. A picture is passed around and soon enough the sender is the subject of relentless bullying and name calling. Such was the case of Jessie Logan, an 18-year-old girl who committed suicide when a nude picture of herself was passed around. The picture was sent to her boyfriend. After they broke up, it was sent to hundreds of students. What followed was constant harassment, not to mention the embarrassment and humiliation that Jessie admitted to feeling. Jessie started skipping school and hiding in the bathroom to avoid being teased. One day she came home from a funeral and hung herself.
Jessie’s story is among a growing population of teenagers who have suffered the same abuse due to racy messaging. Most think that the texting will be private, but of course in high school, gossip like this spreads like wildfire. This is something that law enforcement officials are cracking down on as Certain cases are being prosecuted under child pornography laws.
How can parents prevent such damaging mistakes? One thing is to monitor when their children are texting. Also, parents should be more proactive in learning about the technology that teenagers are using. Check what pictures or information they are posting on social websites. Also, sit down and have a talk with your child about what is appropriate texting. Perhaps he or she will realize the danger before it is too late.