Texting and Sexting – The Behavior and the Consequences
Texting is how teens communicate. It’s an efficient way to let your parents know your Friday night plans or to inform an annoying acquaintance that you’re busy. But what do you do when you receive a suggestive text that you know is inappropriate? Sending or receiving flirtatious words or images on your cell phone, called sexting, may be more serious than it seems. Sexting is dangerous because it can reap unexpected consequences that may affect you for years.
The moment you send a picture of yourself to someone else, consider it public information. It only takes a second for the recipient to forward it to friends (or your parents), or to post that pose on Facebook. As a result, you may face embarrassment and ridicule. However, a little high school humiliation is manageable compared with not being able to attend the college of your choice or find a good job.
Many teens who have participated in sexting are now facing charges that can result in prison and/or being deemed a public sex offender. Public sex offenders cannot live in neighborhoods that are near schools or churches. Sex offenders are automatically disqualified from professions like teaching or the police force. While securing a job may not be in your mind when you send a text, remember that you no longer have control over who views it or when. Perhaps the most disturbing danger of sexting is that it makes you more vulnerable to sexual abuse. The majority of rapes are performed by someone the victim knows.
No one who truly cares about you would pressure you to share an explicit picture of yourself. You can protect yourself and your future by choosing not to participate in sexting.