It sounds like a dirty word, but it’s quickly becoming part of our national vocabulary.
Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between cell phones. Depending on the age of the subject of the photograph, sexting can lead to charges as serious as distributing child pornography.
As a result of the rise in popularity of sexting among young people, the topic of sexting and its dangers may be added to reproductive health curriculums at local schools such as Belding Area Schools this coming school year.
“Sexting is essentially child pornography,” said Belding Superintendent Leslie Mount. “Kids don’t necessarily realize the legal repercussions at stake.”
We think it’s unfortunate but appropriate that sexting and its dangers are being discussed in schools.
The majority of young people have cell phones. In our over-sexualized culture, some young people are tempted to take an inappropriate photograph of themselves and text it to their significant other. It’s exciting in the moment, but few people look ahead to how the photograph could be used in the future.
High school romances are famous for starting up fast and ending just as dramatically. It only takes a second for a scorned boyfriend or girlfriend to take a photograph that was meant to be private and send it to someone or post it online in an act of hurt revenge.
When a private photograph goes public, there’s no taking it back these days.
We fully support education in school about the dangers of sexting, but the education should start at home.
Do you talk to your children about sexting? Some parents monitor their children’s Facebook, Twitter or even diary or journal. But what about cell phones — the new, modern diaries? Are you aware of what’s on your child’s phone or what your child’s friends are sharing with them on their phones?
The Belding Area Schools Board of Education will host a public hearing March 19 to gather feedback about adding the topic of sexting to the district’s reproductive health curriculum. We hope parents attend the public hearing and voice their opinion — not only to the school board, but also to the students.
We think this topic is well worth a community conversation.