Sexting Craze Presents 21st Century Educational Challenge
When I was in High School I remember being driven to school one morning by my dad and him making sarcastic remarks about the love bites on my neck. Hickeys, in my day, were a necessity. A badge of honor for teenagers growing up in a hugely competitive crowd and a way of saying to my peers that I was sexually active and desirable to the opposite sex.
If I were at school today I have no doubt I would be carrying naked pictures of my girlfriend on my smartphone. The tragic tales of sexting wrecking teenagers’ lives being reported in the New York Times echo similar cases written about last year by relationship author Alisa Miller.
The issue is trivial, the damage it can do horrendous and it all comes down to an old practice meeting a new technology. My hickey was seen, reprovingly, by my parents, approvingly, by all my friends and peers, with knowing smiles by all the girls I was hitting on and neutrally by my teachers.
Because it could not be transmitted to all and sundry it worked its magic and, as practices go, was soon outgrown as I discovered new ways to make my mark upon the world. Because it was once removed from the participant who gave it to me her identity, if divulged at all, would be known to just a few and even then all they would have to go by would be a name and their imagination.
Sexting, the exchange of naked pictures between teenagers is the natural progression of the hickey in the electronic age but there are significant differences imparted by the communication channel which create problems. A naked picture of a girl on a smartphone gives no one any kudos at all unless they can show it around and after shoeing it around, sharing it is just one click away. And once shared it is, quite literally, out of control.Continued on the next page