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Emotional Support Group Meetings 2020 (Phone only)

2020 ACSOL Conference – Postponed to Oct 10-11

Commentary

Kat’s Blog: Sext Education

An interesting article a few weeks ago out of the United Kingdom has me wondering who’s responsible when children and teens are caught “sexting”? According to The Guardian, there are children as young as 4 years of age sharing indecent photos of themselves via smartphones, 9 yr. old children posting nude pictures of themselves on Facebook Messenger and Instagram. Between Jan. 2017 and Aug. 2019, in the United Kingdom there were 6,499 cases of underage children sexting, cases investigated by British authorities, cases where some of those children actually ended up with criminal records.

Where are the adults who are putting smartphones and computers in the hands of minors?

It’s hard to expect children, even teenagers, to understand the serious consequences of sexting. Sexting for children seems to be the 21st century version of the childish game of “you show me yours and I’ll show you mine.”  A game that’s been played forever, but never like this. Young children don’t think twice before clicking and sending a photo, it’s just one of many fun things they can do with the smartphone or computer their parents gave them. They don’t fully comprehend the inappropriateness of certain kinds of photos, they may not understand or ever have been given any guidance in appropriate boundaries. They are children, there are things they don’t know unless we teach them.

Teenagers on the other hand, while they may understand why you shouldn’t sext, are most likely do it anyway because, well, because they’re teens. Teens test boundaries and often do things they know they shouldn’t. Bowing to peer pressure gets many an otherwise “good kid” in trouble they normally wouldn’t get in to. Sexting can end up as trouble that even a parent can’t easily “fix”.

Smartphones and computers are extensions of our children and teens, they’ve never known life without them. For them, these devices are part of their universe. While practical and educational, they are a form of entertainment, they are toys, they are modern day babysitters as well as extensions of young adult’s social lives. These age groups don’t give much thought to the fact that there are serious hazards to using this technology.

So, when our children, our teens are arrested for sexting, who will we blame? Pandora’s box has been opened, taking smartphones and computers away from our kids is never going to happen. Every week we hear about more minors in trouble for sexting, whole groups of school age children caught up in an offense that could potentially get them incarcerated, that could put them on the registry, that will leave a black stain on future educational and employment opportunities. And yet, knowing all this, most parents continue to believe, “that could never happen to my child.”

I once read something to the effect that “a child today is more likely to end up on the registry than to be the victim of someone on the registry”. Handing our children smartphones and computers without providing them education and supervision, we are setting them on a course that may not end well.

Adults need to be as smart as the smartphones and computers they are handing over to children. Educate and supervise. While phones can entertain, they are not toys. There may be real adult consequences to your child, your teen, naively doing something stupid with the phone you gave them.

And really, what 4 yr. old needs a smartphone?

Join the discussion

  1. Harry

    Nudity in a child’s mind is not a sex thing, it is only in the minds of certain adults.

  2. Tim in WI

    KAT,
    TV entertainment used to be America’s babysitter. Today it is the gamer council and hand held device. Placating children has become the great American paedocentric copout disguising a blatant neglect of general welfare. There is an overwhelming infatuation with bells and whistles wrought by the machine database driven infrastructure. Human human expressions used to make its way to books, magazines and journals to be consumer and considered AFTER editing is now consumed as raw meat in blogs, tubes and a viral videos. We are paying a price for our political leadership’s choice to encourage unfettered use of the electronic infrastructure. Other lawful and overt ACTS broadly supported the unfettered approach can be found in US SEC. CODE 230, which relieves internet service providers and social media firms from liability of certain and predictable outcomes. (Lest no need to seek relief prior) KAT’S title here describes only ONE of those predictables advanced by the Doe cases.

    SO Registration, as I see it breaks down like this.
    (Machine database property)
    Hired men & servants to maintain the property resulting in sellable commodity.
    Slaves render the commodity as personal data against their free will.
    Hired men chase registrants down and seek felony conviction, should non compliance occur.

    The plantation revised and repackaged in modern day terms!
    Plantation were normally a profitable precisely because of the free input.
    Just as social media thrives on free input via content.
    Resistance is futile you must comply.

  3. Will Allen

    The answer is to destroy nanny big government. If my child does something wrong, I will deal with it. Everyone else should understand it is none of their business.

    NO ONE needs help from big government control freaks with this particular problem. The control freaks aren’t helping anyone.

  4. Mp

    And some adult is going to end up with the pics these young people put on the internet and spend a good chunk of time in prison for it. These children are adding to the database of cp without knowing it. And others will end up with it without looking for it.

    It is the modern day show me yours. Excellent points through out. Thanks.

  5. Steve D

    I don’t believe that our youngsters don’t take sexting seriously enough; the problem is that the law takes the matter too seriously. Way too seriously. The laws need to be changed, and will eventually evolve, to keep up with the new reality. Regrettably, that won’t of course happen until many more “lawbreakers” and their families have suffered.

  6. R M

    I have always been a believer that a parent is responsible (and accountable) for their children’s behaviors. Mine never really taught me right from wrong unless I did something wrong. Then I got punished, usually by physical punishment. Maybe if I was taught it was wrong I wouldn’t have done it in the first place.

    Giving a child a device that can communicate with the world without giving them rules verbally AND without installing software (password reliance, no ability to download apps, etc.) makes the parent(s) accountable in my mind.

    Yet, we see many minors being convicted for crimes and then the parent(s) sobbing.

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