And the first few lines of the article were bad and detailed that a young woman had sent nude photos of herself to her boyfriend. He sent them to others and so on.
It was the 6th line and the 4th paragraph before I learned that the young woman had subsequently committed suicide.
MSNBC was more direct in the article: Her teen committed suicide over ‘sexting’.
The image from cincinnati.com is of the mother holding a photograph of her daughter.
I had heard of sexting before this. Probably because I am on the Internet so much. Used to be that was a bit unusual but I think I am actually less "connected" now than many others. The Internet has definitely become main stream.
As has texting. I just mentioned Twitter a day or so ago in another blog. It is a technology that connects texting to the Internet.
Sexting is the joining of "sex" and "texting" and there's even a Wikipedia article.
Texting and email and even Facebooking is similar in that it is easy to have this feeling that we are communicating very privately - like a private journal or one on one private conversation or one to select group of friends kind of privacy.
But it is total illusion. Once that send button is touched or the submit button clicked that stream of data is no longer private at all.
We adults are supposed to be able to think things through enough that we recognize the potential outcome of our immediate action. I say "supposed to" because we all have enough trouble with it ourselves. That's not to mention mistakes like "reply all" and so on.
Teenagers and children are especially vulnerable because we now know from scientific investigation that the part of the brain that controls impulse is still undergoing physiological development at that age.
That's one thing I thought when I read the article.
But there was something else, too. I was reminded of my dad when we would watch some news program about some guy that beat up his wife or girlfriend. Dad would say "you don't hit your sister" because that was something in his family that was taught from the earliest age he remembered. This teaching that was so important to my dad and that he conveyed to me and my brother was not just about hitting. It was that men had a responsibility to women to respect them and to keep them safe.
So I thought about the boyfriend in this case. I think he had not been taught that lesson.
I suppose it is an old fashioned lesson. I think it is not out of date though.
Now I am not excusing the girl who sent the nude pictures of herself. She should not have done that. I so wish she had not taken her own life because of the consequences of that act.
But the boyfriend that did not protect her should have. He did not have to send on that image. And the girls who further sent them on should not have done so. Why did they? I really do not understand why. The more I think about it the sadder it makes me.
And then the people who looked at the picture and proceeded to judge the girl and taunt her and ridicule her should not have done that.
All these people -- and I have no idea how many -- were not extraordinarily evil people. They were just normally evil like all the rest of us. It was not the technology.
Maybe new laws will help some but I would not bet on it myself.
It is a sad story. It reinforces my belief that it is the human heart that requires changing.