Sexting: A Growing Heinous Phenomenon: By Carly Nicola


 Hello, I’m Carly Nicola. I’m majoring in Communications, with a concentration in Mass. I am HOPING later to do something with broadcast or radio!  The majority of my days are spent at work or school. I work full time at Jamba Juice as a Shift Manager.  In my spare time I like to hang out with my friends and family. I LOVE my animals,  some good tunes, going out, baseball.. go YANKEES, & just having a good time.  🙂

Sexting is a result of advances in technology enabling new forms of social interaction. Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages, photographs or videos through some form of technology in digital media, mainly involving cell phones and internet. Anyone can participate in the act of sexting, but it has become typically common among many teenagers and young adults. The new forms of technology that we use have a big risk on the people who are using the digital media irresponsibly. With all these new forms of technology, it enables us to send photographs and videos more easily and more often. Sexting has become so common among teenagers, that they are partaking in this activity as a social thing; however the social danger with sexting is that the messages can so very easily be spread and it will be completely out of the sender’s control. Interestingly, 22% of teens admit that technology makes them personally more forward and aggressive (CosmoGirl and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2009.)

Many teenagers aren’t aware that sending or receiving explicit photographs to their peers is actually illegal and is correlated with child pornography. Sexting can result in very legal repercussions. Sexting is becoming more and more dangerous and it is not uncommon for teenagers to be charged with the distribution of child pornography or the possession of child pornography. The United States especially has such strict anti-child pornography laws, which is of course good; however many teenagers and young adults aren’t aware that they can be charged for these acts. Some people are even charged as sex offenders, and will have to live their whole lives with that title.

This week, CBS News discussed sexting because of a recent incident that happened. There were three teenage girls who sent nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves through their cell phones to three other male classmates. Shockingly to the teenagers, they are all being charged with distribution or possession of child pornography. This is a very serious case, and likely, the girls and guys involved in it, were not even thinking that it could possibly lead to this. For more information on this case check this link out: HS teens – Child pornography
Or watch this video

Statistics show that 1 in 5 teens are sexting, so this is a big concern for the future generation. According to psychologist Susan Lipkins here are some of the reasons people sext: It may be a new type of “mating call,” another way of gossiping, a way to have fun or be funny, a way to improve social status and sexting may be malicious, a form of sexual harassment. For more information from Lipkins, please visit her website here: Lipkins

Here is a video to check out that broadcasted by CBS News. Child and adolescent psychologist, Susan Lipkins, discusses teen’s sexting and the social aspect of it.

A study was done by the The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy Association and Cosmogirl. The survey specifically sought to better understand the interaction between sex and cyberspace, with respect to attitudes and behavior. The survey also wanted to see the role that technology plays in regards to explicit content. The survey involved teens and young adults in relation to their exploration in their electronic activity. More specifically the participants ranged from ages 13-26, half boys and half girls, making a total of 1,280 participants. Teens were classified under the age group of 13-19 and young adults were classified as 20-26 years old. The survey targeted questions regarding the following topics:  sending and receiving sexual messages, sending messages or nude/semi-nude pictures/video of oneself, sharing those messages with other people whom it wasn’t originally meant for, personal experience, feelings and emotions after viewing the messages, concerns or remorse after sending or sharing messages, relationships and peer pressure. A few of the results from the survey were as follows:

20 % of teens say they have sent/posted nude or seminude pictures or video of themselves.

39% of all teens, are sending or posting sexually suggestive messages.

59% of young adults are sending or posting sexually suggestive messages.

64% of young adults say they have received such messages.

71% of teen girls and 67% of teen guys who have sent or posted sexually suggestive content say they have sent/posted this content to a boyfriend/girlfriend.

21% of teen girls and 39% of teen boys say they have sent such content to someone they wanted to date or hook up with.

15% of teens who have sent or posted nude/seminude images of themselves say they have done so to someone they only knew online.

83% of young adult women and 75% of young adult men who have sent sexually suggestive content say they have sent/posted such material to a boyfriend/girlfriend.

21% of young adult women and 30% of young adult men who have sent/posted sexually suggestive content have done so to someone they wanted to date or hook up with.

15% of young adult women and 23% of young adult men who have sent sexually suggestive material say they have done so to someone they only knew online.

Of course there were many other questions addressed by this research but that gives the general idea of teens and young adults involved in sending or posting these explicit messages. Here is a link to show the article more in depth.  The National Campaign

Sexting is very dangerous, and can come back to harm or haunt the victim in the future. Think about it, the person could be affected later with career opportunities, family and friends, significant other, etc. One horrific story involving sexting, turned into a tragedy for 18-year-old Jesse Logan her took her own life after a nude picture of her was passed around by e-mail.

Jesse Logan

Logan sent her former boyfriend a nude picture of herself through her cell phone, and a year later after they broke up he forwarded the picture to his friends, who then forwarded it to others. Logan was taunted from her picture being passed around and could not take the abuse and attacks that she was receiving, and ultimately committed suicide. For more information on this story please visit this link: Teen commits sucicide

Many people, especially teenagers don’t realize how big of a deal that sexting is or simply using electronic media to send something explicit. Teenagers are often unable to recognize long term consequences. There are lots of things to think about before sending explicit messages to others. Don’t forget that when you send something digitally to someone else, it’s theirs to keep afterwards and do whatever they want with it, because you can never take that back, once the message is sent you cannot un-send it. There is also no changing your mind in cyberspace, anything you send or post, in all reality will never truly go away. Also, don’t forget the laws of our country, and the consequences of committing the crimes according to the law.  In all reality, don’t assume anything you send is going to remain private because it’s likely that at one time or another messages will get shared or sent to someone else. Let’s face it sexting is a very risky, and dangerous activity to be involved in.

Schools and parents need to get more involved and help these teenagers realize how big of a deal sexting is and the consequences of participating in this activity. This is a growing concern, and we need to cause awareness of this heinous  activity. For more information and tips for parents on teaching/guiding their children visit the following link: guide for parents

Additional links and sources:
More info on sexting

Sexting- Statistics

More tips and ideas to prevent sexting:
tips to prevent sexting


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