The more I speak at conferences, churches and with youth groups the more I see that information needs to be shared with parents and their children. Too many parents are clueless that their children are involved in Sexting, Cyberbullying, and even digital Pimping. Yes I said digital Pimping.
The use of Social Media to post personal pictures, tantalizing videos, stimulating sexual photos and sensuous party picts may be fun and exciting, but they can hurt a teen and young adults e-reputation, e-personality and potentially their credit score and being hired.
You can forget being involved in politics and in some cases community service. If you “equipment” is posted for everyone to see that is almost and death sentences for any political dreams.
Employers, educational institutions and even the military have the capability to check Social Media platforms to look for and find potentially harmful information that can stop college entrance, put a stop on receiving scholarships and internships, even prevent starting a promising career in a dream job making millions.
Parents should learn the terminology their children are using online to stop potential problems before they happen, giving their children a Smartphone is not very bright without talking about expectations for behaviors and actions. It is almost like giving the keys of their car to a unlicensed driver with no experience, no insurance and no limits.
The Internet contains the worst and the best of human information, but youth, teens and young adults will ultimately find or be attracted to the parts that are unhealthy and potentially dangerous. The lure of excitement is more exciting than common sense.
Sexting is a dangerous activity that children are participating in, they lack the maturity to understand that as a boy sending a (DP) “dick pic” or a girl sending a (Taco) or vagina pict has consequences that may involve law enforcement and being involved in child porn.
Their reputations can be destroyed and that DP or Taco will never go away because information is backed up, archived and stored on servers someplace. DP’s are part of Sexting and even for girls thinking just showing some breast, some genital area or even more is not a big deal.
Tell that to the girls that have been harassed, bullied both cyber and physically and even the ones that have committed suicide because of a wrong choice that
will not go away.
Traditional laws years ago did not have to address the Sexting and child porn of the last 10 to 15 years, because of the Internet Congress has passed legislation to cover these issues and jails contain men and women caught in child porn and prostitution rings.
Laws and the execution of them demanded law enforcement using online Apps, platforms and tools to track down those that seek to have sex with children.
Pretending to want sex as a child and “baiting” both men and women is seen on the news as they travel sometimes hundreds of miles to engage in sex with a minor.
Parents need to understand they have a moral and ethical responsibility to talk to their children no matter the age to set expectations, to reinforce personal values and morals about their conduct and actions online.
The online world does have dangers and tragedies can be seen when kids are kidnapped, sexually assaulted or sold as sex slaves when enticed to meet strangers away from home.
Sexting; is the sending and receiving of sexually explicit photos and/or text using cell phones with digital cameras. USA Today has reported in past issues that the percentage of men admitted to sending a DP is increasing: those surveyed because they were asked for one, others they wanted to turn the other person on. Other reasons flirting and to get the other person to send one back.
Teen girls have reported it is important to “checking out the junk” to see how real it is because the imagination can be deceptive and wrong and all boys lie about the
size they have. “It is the imagination part of sexting that mainly attracts women to it,” and the thrill for guys.
The percentages are that women are more prone to send images that stir excitement, create the allure of romance, not just sex and the invitation to “hookup” mostly with a male they are attracted to. Sexting can be seen as the new love note, similar to the notes that use to be passed around in class, “do you love me yes or no.”
Now photos and video are seen as the tools to get noticed and get into a relationship. Used by kids even in elementary schools to get boys and girls to like them.
Studies conducted by the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, published in the journal Sexual Health, 5,805 single adults between the ages of 21 and 77; 23 percent reported sharing the sexts they received with an average of more than three different friends.
This translates into No Privacy exists in cyberspace and that those that Sext have no idea who is looking at them in the world and have their personal information.
During my presentations over the years with community groups, youth, teens and young adult groups and even at the international Preventing Crime In The Black Community I speak realistically to youth, teens, and young adults about the potential dangers and future affects of Sexting.
It is not romantic, it is not sexy, it is not what they think when the image is spread to a whole school or the football team, or basketball team.
Too many young people still are under the idea that their pictures will be deleted when they break up with that boy or girl they are dating, but the hospitals and even cemeteries show that is not the case when youth, teens and young adults try to or successfully commit suicide because their sexting pictures or video are
spread to others and they are harassed and embarrassed at school, in church and in their communities.
On the Internet there is no place to hide and no where to run. Parents talk to your children, Google them to see what is out there in photos, videos and sharing sites, be friends with them online and if necessary contact your cell phone provider and see who they are texting and sending and receiving photos and videos with. Be proactive not reactive…..
It is important to be proactive before an incident happens and law enforcement comes knocking on your door and takes everyone’s devices for an investigation that will be embarrassing for you at work, in church and in your community.
Youth, teens and young adults convicted of child porn must register as a sex offender and this will destroy their freedoms for a long time and bring social changes that will affect the whole family for years to come.