To Sext or not to Sext? A Closer Look at the New “Sexting” [Teen Article]
Posted Apr 28 2009 10:11pm
Stephanie is a high school freshman from New Jersey. She loves the summertime and enjoys going to the gym and free writing.
The invention of the cell phone has improved the lives of many by introducing easy communication across the planet into the average household. Nowadays, cell phones come with nifty little features like cool ringtones, accessibility to the internet, applications, games, music, news updates, slide-out keyboards, and wide, colorful screens. But what happens when technology is abused? Two of the potentially most dangerous features of a cell phone are texting and picture messaging - together these features are the basis of “sexting”.
Sexting is the act of sending suggestive text and/or picture messages. It’s as simple as that, and pretty scary, too – many people that engage in sexting don’t even realize that they’re doing it. Although an increasing number of teenagers are catching on to this new ‘fad’, it is not limited to teens alone. Any adult that sends nude photos, videos, or sexual messages to others is also taking part in sexting. Many argue that sexting is dangerous, immature, and all in all a complete waste of time. Others say that there is a time and place for everything, and as long as the sender knows what they’re doing it is completely harmless. Where do you stand on the issue? Here are some points to consider when deciding whether or not to hit that “send” button on your keypad.
“Thanks, but no thanks.”
Boys, imagine your best girl friend sending you a picture of her cleavage out of the blue. Girls, what would you do if Joe Shmo decided to text you telling you how hot and sexy your butt looked in those jeans today? All too often receiving a “sexy” message can be unwelcomed and, to put it bluntly, weird. Although you may think that Jessica was definitely checking you out today and wants to hook up with you, consider the fact that she may have been innocently flirting without an intention of hooking up at all, or just staring out into space. If you’re really curious about what someone thinks about you, it’s probably best to ask them up front instead of taking flirting to the extreme.
“She sent what to him?”
If you’re on Facebook, MySpace, AIM, or any other tool for communicating, you probably already know that you should watch what you say and do on the internet. Don’t underestimate cell phones, either. You’d be surprised at how quickly things spread via texting, especially something that others consider worthy of gossip. Here’s a little math thrown your way: if a sexual video was sent to one person, who in turn sent it to three people, who each sent it to three more people, etc. at a rate of 1 text per five minutes, in half an hour that video could have been shared with 40 people! It doesn’t matter if the person you’re sexting promises they won’t share your messages with anyone. They can go back on their word, or unintentionally leave their phone with a friend who will have no problem sending the message to whomever they want. This can lead to serious embarrassment and sometimes even losing friends.
“Sorry, we just don’t have a place for you in our company any longer.”
Generally frowned upon by employers, sexting that becomes public may cost you your job if it’s serious enough. It’s especially dangerous to send suggestive messages to coworkers and even more so to your boss. Even if you don’t exchange flirty messages with people in the workplace, a message of yours can inconveniently be sent to your employer through networks of your friends. The same goes for sports teams, clubs or colleges that you apply to – a college applicant with a notorious history for dirty talk may not be considered equal with a more polite, quiet student.
“You have the right to remain silent – anything you text can and will be used against you.”
It is indeed possible to be arrested for sexting should the material be discovered by the authorities. Hundreds of cases have been recorded of teens being charged with possession and sending of child pornography and obscenity. This is the most extreme consequence of sexting and should definitely be considered by those who plan to engage in it. Be sure that you’re willing to accept responsibility for your actions before you decide to send anything at all.
Obviously, these points can be argued. One could say that teens get away with sexting all the time without any legal consequences, or that boyfriends and girlfriends send each other sexy lines that actually strengthen their relationship, not damage it. Either way, it is up to you to evaluate your options and make the choice for yourself. With cell phones you’ve got your life in the palm of your hands – literally – so be gentle.