Hearing the sound of a text from your crush brings a stirring feeling. Little do you know there is a crude picture behind that notification. Engaging in sexting is a dangerous activity for teens. It can have hostile side effects and the consequences can be life-long. Twenty percent of teenagers overall have sent or posted nude or semi-nude pictures or videos of themselves, and thirty-nine percent of all teenagers have sent or posted sexually suggestive messages. So exactly what is sexting, why are teens doing it, and what are the consequences?
The term “Sext” has been around since 2005, and the idea of exchanging sexual material is not a new concept. Modern technology advances have made sexual exchanges much easier and more powerful than before. With a click of a button a picture can be dispersed to many people rapidly, and once your picture is in the world, there is not a chance of getting it back.
Teens who engage in sexting are more likely than others to find it acceptable. Teens have justified the act to the point that they do not view the activity as wrong. Sex creates curiosity, which leads exploring and curious minds towards wanting to know what others look like nude. If you are a guy and your friends have sexual photos of girls on their phones, you may feel pressured to have nude photos of girls also. As for girls, if other girls are boasting about sending pictures to their boyfriends you may feel the need to do the same.
Laws on this subject are behind the technology used to send these messages, but in 2011, 21 U.S. states passed legislation related to sexting. In 2012, at least 13 states are considering bills or resolutions aimed at “sexting”.
In Georgia, teens that send sexually explicit images in messages can face felony criminal charges, jail time, and a lifetime as a registered sex offender just for sending or even receiving a photo from a boyfriend or girlfriend. Teens need to know that it is okay to have desires and feelings, and with today’s teens sexting, it is important that we educate on the dangers associated with sexting.