Send– four little, seemingly harmless letters that launch explicit images into cyberspace without an undue button. The phenomenon known as “sexting” sums up teenagers who send nude or partially nude photos of themselves to a crush with their cell or email. What is wrong with “sexting?” (Oh, so many things…)
However, for Conor Friedersdorf of the Daily Beast nothing is wrong; the problem is actually when parents or authority figures get involved. Friedersdorf defends the recent “sexting” trend in his column “Leave ‘Sexters’ Alone.” He explains,
“The tragic stories that begin with ‘sexting’ are all too frequent when principals, police officers, or district attorneys get involved…The two known suicides attributed to “sexting” actually resulted from adults who exacerbated, rather than stopped, the abhorrent “slut-shaming” that peers callously directed at girls whose naked photos were spread around school.”
While suicides caused by sexting represent a very small number of cases, a recent PEW poll found that “one in seven teens with cell phones admit receiving naked pictures directly.”
The traffic around an image may not be limited to merely the intended receiver but often are passed from one teen to another with little constraints or even consent from the original sender.
With our tech-heavy generation nothing is off limits including sending pornographic images that sent by other media forms are punishable by law. But is sexting actually just “playing doctor” like our parent’s generation did or something entirely different?
What do you think—is sexting just harmless teenage curiosity?