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The Freedom Post

The World According to Lily and Ahmad

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These days it is extremely easy for a teenager to get online.  We seem to have no shortage of electronics . . . smartphones, tablets or laptops with which to keep connected to “friends” and love ones as we spend endless hours on “social” media.  Under normal circumstances this is no big deal.  By sharing something with a friend, you could be creating a memory to enjoy forever. Sometimes the sharing gets a little TOO personal, it seems our generation doesn’t fully understand the need for boundaries and that the overshare is TMI.

What Is Sexting?

Sexting (or “sex texting”) is the sending or receiving of sexually explicit or sexually suggestive images, messages, or video via a cell-phone or the Internet.  Examples of sexting include sending:

  • nude or nearly nude photos or “selfies”
  • videos that show nudity, sex acts, or simulated sex
  • text messages that propose sex or refer to sex acts

Almost 60% of girls who sent nudes have been pressured to do so. Sexting is serious. It’s more than just getting pleasure. You can get serious jail time.  Sexting is considered child pornography if it’s under the age of 18 , whether its a boy or a girl who is sending the nude the photo. The person who sent the photo gets charged , not the one receiving. Girls that are pressured to send nude photos do not realize that messages, pictures, or videos sent via the Internet or smartphones are never truly private or anonymous.  Without your consent, they can be made public for all the world to see.  This can damage relationships with family and friends, at school, your jobs and even impact your future.  Its sad to say, but this is the least of your worries . . . don’t overlook the potential for legal consequences. In some states, a teen could face felony charges for texting explicit photos or even have to register as a sex offender.  In the USA,  8 states have authorized bills to protect minors from sexting. It is a criminal charge if caught sexting under the age of 18. Almost 40+ % of girls/boys who are sending/receiving naked pictures are under the age of 18.  The next time you sext your girlfriend/boyfriend , think how bad it would suck if you were in a juvenile court with your parents going through a case because you were producing “child pornography”. Think of how awkward that would be with your parents next to you.  It is not uncommon to sext, but lately teens have been sending there pictures randomly to users they meet on social media. It’s all for humor but it can be taken seriously. In the long run it will hurt you more than benefit you.  What if your dream college or job searches through the archives and sees something like that… good luck!! It’s hard to know exactly how common sexting is among teens.  Current statistics say close to 70% of the time sexting is done between a couple. 61% of both the male and female gender said that they were pressured to do so, it wasn’t their first instinct to sext. Pressuring does not mean constant harassment, so it can be something as simple as a sentence; which can change a no to a yes. Ultimately it’s not worth getting a criminal record . . . ruining a bright future.

Now, what if your significant other is pressuring you to do it? A study from Indiana University states that one in five teens who sext experience a sense of pressure from their partners, which is a form of digital and and sexual abuse. Although some may say that receiving pressure is common, it is definitely abnormal and should not be taken lightly. It is your body and you have the right to decide with who and when to participate in sexual activity—including sexting.  Now what should you do if your partner pressures you into sending them personal photos? The first step is to understand that this is a form of abuse. Pressuring you into something that you aren’t comfortable with is never something that is okay and you completely have the right to say “No”.  Make sure to inform your partner that you do not feel comfortable sexting and would appreciate if they respected your decision. Something that should also be kept in mind is the distribution of photos of anyone who is under the age of 18 is considered child pornography. If you feel safe enough, inform your partner you can get into a lot serious legal trouble for sexting.  Your partner should never threaten to share your photos with anyone else in order to get things out of you. Many states have passed laws to end what is known as “revenge pornography”. If something like this is happening to you, the best thing to do is to get in contact with a legal advocate who can assist you and inform you of your options.  You are not alone . . . reach out to a teacher, counselor or coach.  Don’t be afraid to speak to friends, family, or any other trusted adult if you are a victim of any of these situations. This is something that no one should go through alone.

 

WiredSafety
http://www.wiredsafety.org
This online safety group provides help, information, and education to mobile device users of all ages. The site covers everything from identity theft to cyberbullying.

NSTeens
http://www.nsteens.org/
This site for teens offers advice on topics like online safety, social networking, and cyberbullying.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
http://www.fbi.gov
Visit the FBI website for Internet safety tips for kids and parents and other safety information.

SafeTeens.com
http://www.safeteens.com
SafeTeens.com offers information about Internet safety and homework help for teens.

Cyberangels
http://www.cyberangels.org
Cyberangels.org is an Internet safety organization that seeks to address the concerns of parents, the needs of children, on-line abuse and cyber crime. 

i-SAFE America
http://www.isafe.org
i-SAFE teaches kids and teens how to be safe on the Internet.

Check Back periodically to see the next topic for discussion . . . XOXO Lily & Ahmad

 

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The student news site of Yonkers Montessori Academy
The World According to Lily and Ahmad