News and Tribune

Columns

March 18, 2009

McDONALD: Reprecussions of "sexting"

In high school, how many friends could you trust? Reflecting after a few decades have passed, we can easily recognize how few there were.

I wonder how many young women of high-school age place unlimited trust in their boyfriends or young men whom they hope will be their boyfriends?

The reason that I ask this question relates to an incident from a couple of weeks ago. A teenage girl shared a nude photo of herself with a boyfriend. After they broke up, the boyfriend in turn shared it with the football team who in turn shared it with the entire senior class.

Unbeknownst to her parents, girls and boys at school began to form their sordid opinions of her and harassed her relentlessly at school. She was many other names that cannot be mentioned in a family newspaper. Ultimately, it reached a point that the young girl hanged herself.

Technology can be a wonderful thing when used properly. Teenagers sometimes don’t always think through the potential ramifications of their actions. In this case, the ramification was a young lady was so distraught that she took her own life. However, in many states, sending a nude photo of yourself if you are less than 18 or forwarding sent photo to others constitutes the distribution of child pornography.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger advises, “Don’t worry so much about your self-esteem. Worry more about your character. Integrity is its own reward.” It is particularly difficult to navigate socially through middle school and high school. As a person who was on the outside looking in socially in high school, I can attest to the feeling of alienation.

I know that I have done things that I would be ashamed to have in print that were silly things in high school. But those things were done in a sad attempt to belong to a group and gain acceptance.

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