Friday, March 27, 2009

It Is Called Sexting

Someone sent me an email just a few days ago that had a link to an article. The title of the article was Family wants tougher laws on So I didn't know exactly what the article was about other than the headline when I clicked the link.

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 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.

Some of us in my group of friends have discussed this whole texting and email and blogging and social networking culture in which we suddenly find ourselves. Just like writing this blog this very moment. I don't know who is going to read these words but for me, right this moment, I am only writing to myself.

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.


susie mccoll said...

I agree that the human heart definitely needs changing. Unfortunately during those teenage years, kids do not really think beyond themselves. Or, at least that is how I was. I think it was called the "id" in Psychology. Having two boys in this category is scary. I have warned them about this "sexting" and let them read that article. I would like to think that is nothing we would need to worry about, but you never know. These kind of articles make me want to pack up my family and go live on a deserted island - like "lost" without the scary stuff!

¸.•*´)ღ¸.•*´Chris said...

My father always treated my mother with respect and my brother followed suit. Mike never belittled a woman nor made her feel cheap, much less physically or mentally abused her. And it embarrassed him when others around him did so, to the point of him apologizing for their behavior. I am proud of him, deeply. He is a true gentleman.

I don't know what had gotten into people anymore. Where is the humanity? Where is the kindness and respect? And most of all, where is the self respect?

You nailed it, Flinty as you always do. It is the human heart that requires changing.

Lori1955 said...

I had heard about this story. It is just so sad that it led to a suicide. I don't think that many people ever consider the consequences of their actions. What we call being cruel, they call being cool.