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Sexting And The Dangers Of Pressing Send

1660 words - 7 pages

Sexting and the Dangers of Pressing “Send”
Sex texting, or more commonly known as sexting, involves the sending, receiving or forwarding of sexual photos or sexually suggestive messages through text message or email. The way we communicate today has been revolutionized with the advances in technology, namely the Smartphone. Rather than rely on flirting with someone of the opposite sex face-to-face like generations of the past, technology of the 21st century emboldens teenagers to increase the level of intimacy in a relationship from the palm of one’s hand. While high school and college students send sexual messages for a variety of reasons, the act of sending a nude photo can be ...view middle of the document...

It is no surprise then that teens who participate in sending and receiving sexual images or messages are more likely to engage in sexual intercourse than their non-sexting peers. Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch found that 76.2% of teens who were propositioned to sext admitted to having had sexual intercourse. (Lohmann, 2012) Nonetheless, many of these teens do not realize the potential and often serious ramifications of sending a provocative photo because they are sending it to someone they trust, usually a romantic partner. In the vast majority of these cases, the picture lands only where it was meant to and no harm is done. However, one must never assume that anything sent is going to remain private. After all, nothing in cyberspace is truly anonymous.
When photos are sent as a result of pressure, the images are much more likely to be used vindictively. According to a study of 18-year-olds by Elizabeth Englander, 12% were considered “pressured sexters” because the only reason they sexted was because they felt pressure to do so. (Rosin, 2014) This group also believed that if they participated in sexting, they would develop a sense of belonging amongst their peers or get a boyfriend that they wouldn’t otherwise have gotten. Regrettably, pressured sexters are more likely to feel worse after sexting than other teens once they realize that they are being taken advantage of. Furthermore, they may become less self-assured about their bodies or engage in high-risk sexual behavior, like unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners. In schools where sexting is tantamount with the phrase “everyone is doing it,” girls especially may feel pressured to participate, sending nude photos to fit in with the queen bee or to gain approval from a crush. In these cases, the photos are more likely to be shared with the intent to humiliate the victim for self-entertainment, which can result in legal consequences.
Sending or receiving a sexual image under the age of 18 can be considered child pornography and can result in criminal charges. However, the seriousness of the punishment depends on whether the photo was voluntarily shared or if it was shared without consent. Some law-reform advocates believe that a romantic couple should be able to exchange personal photos with one another at any age. Sexting justly becomes criminal when the recipient forwards the photo to others without the originators consent. Since 2009, about 19 states have adopted teen sexting laws while 13 other states are in the process of taking a legal stance on the issue. (“Teen Sexting Laws,” 2014) However, even if a state does not enforce any sexting laws, distributing inappropriate photos of underage kids may still be reprimanded under pre-existing laws that target child pornography. The punishment for sexual abuse through the distribution of child pornography can be severely damaging. Adult convicts and some juveniles are required to register...

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