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Old 01-15-2009, 09:09 AM   #1
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Teens Are Sexting

Some are even being charged with child porn for doing it..

High Schoolers Accused Of Sending Naked Pictures To Each Other - News Story - WPXI Pittsburgh

cincinnati.com
January 13, 2009

Teens bare all on phones

More 'sexting' nude pictures

By Cindy Kranz
ckranz@enquirer.com

In the Cincinnati area, where legend holds that trends come 10 years late, "sexting" arrived well ahead of time.

Teens here are taking nude photos of themselves or others, sending them on their cell phones or posting them online.

Some teens do it as a joke.

For others, it's the new bold pickup line to get a date.

A year ago, a 19-year-old Goshen cheerleading coach was charged and prosecuted for a misdemeanor, contributing to the unruliness of a child, for taking a topless photo of herself and a 15-year-old girl. A Glen Este Middle School boy was taken to juvenile court during the last school year for taking explicit photos of his girlfriend.

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com last month revealed results of a study that showed 20 percent of teens say they have sent or posted nude or semi-nude pictures or video of themselves.

The results don't surprise local teens, school officials, police officers and others.

"If I were to go through the cell phones in this building right now of 1,500 students, I would venture to say that half to two-thirds have indecent photos, either of themselves or somebody else in school," said Jim Brown, school resource officer at Glen Este High School.

Turpin High School Principal Peggy Johnson thinks that the results would be similar - about 50-50 - in her building.

According to the national study, most teens who send sexually suggestive content send to boyfriends or girlfriends, while others say they send such material to those they want to date or hook up with or to someone they only know online.

Brown, who also is Glen Este Middle School's resource officer, said of the 14-year-old boy's cell phone photos last year: "They were as graphic as you would see in any Penthouse magazine, I've been told."

The study also showed that 44 percent of teens say it's common for sexually explicit images and text messages - sexting - to be shared with people other than the intended recipient.

"Guys who get pictures like this from girls, I don't think girls understand that guys gossip way more than girls," said Taylor McCleod, 17, a Withrow University High School senior who is a teen leader for the Postponing Sexual Involvement program.

"And when a guy gets a picture like that, he's not just going to keep it between him and the girl. He's going to take that and show every guy that he knows that knows that girl. And every time somebody looks at her, it's going to be a loss of respect for her."

Stakes can be high

The stakes of taking and sending sexually explicit photos can be high, compared to the thrill at the time.

The consequences can range from humiliation to losing out on jobs to going to court.

When kids are 14 or 15, Brown said, they don't often make the right decisions.

"They think, 'I have the right to decide what's best for me.' The next thing you know, it's on YouTube, and you become an international star because you're exposing part of your body. ... Then, they want to retrieve their good reputation, and they can't."

Kids have lost scholarships and jobs because of what's posted on Web sites, Brown said.

Many kids have "wised up," taking photos of body parts, but not faces, to avoid detection.

And while some teens intend for the suggestive photos to be seen by only one person, they might not think those photos will be forwarded or that something posted on the Internet lives on.

"I don't think it even crosses their mind," Daniel "Woody" Breyer, chief deputy prosecutor in Clermont County, said. "I think that kids are in the moment. What's going to happen today? What are we doing tonight? What are we doing this weekend?"

Going to court might not cross their minds, either.

Prosecutors evaluate the intent of the photo when deciding if charges are warranted.

"If this is clearly just a joke and everyone involved thinks it's funny, now somebody's mom sees it and gets mad. Technically, a charge could be filed," said Julie Wilson, chief assistant prosecutor and public information officer for the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office.

"We're asking police to evaluate if it's a criminal charge or a matter that could be handled by the school or parents. For whatever reason, we have not seen a lot of these cases."

With so many implications, why do kids do it?

Besides peer pressure, the practice is provoked by what's considered acceptable in this culture, Breyer said, citing videos, such as "Girls Gone Wild."

"What is acceptable behavior in our country has just gone through the floor," Breyer said.

Christopher Kraus, director of the Postponing Sexual Involvement program at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, said that in his 20 years of working in adolescent medicine at the hospital, he's yet to see a teenage trend that does not mirror a larger adult trend.

"Adolescent sexuality is part of normal human development," Kraus said. "Teens are trying to figure out how to express their sexuality appropriately. They are learning, and they are learning from adults."

Kraus, who also is project manager for the Ohio Department of Health's new Guidelines for Sexual Health and Adoption Education, Grades 7-12, said teens are learning how to sort out many sexual messages in the media, including text messages.

"Some messages are complimentary. Some are offensive. Some are confusing. Each message is different."

'Kids Gone Wild'

Another teen Postponing Sexual Involvement leader, Mariah McCollum, who has received unwanted and unsolicited photos from an acquaintance, talked about the trend.

"Every day or every other day, I hear about a new video of one of my peers. There's a new video going around involving sexual activities," said Mariah, a 17-year-old senior at Withrow University High School.

"I think it's pretty lame for a male to send you pictures without consent. ... Who says I want to see your private areas?" Mariah said, adding that she lost a lot of respect for the boy who sent it.

Meanwhile, Brown said parents need to pay attention to their kids' use of technology.

Part of the problem is that kids' inhibitions are knocked away by alcohol-fueled parties, where many sexually explicit photo opportunities occur, he said.

"It's 'Kids Gone Wild,' with technology being provided by the parents," he said.
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:57 AM   #2
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Some people have too much time on their hands....
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:38 AM   #3
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No, it's a lot more complicated with than kids just having more time on their hands. It scares me to think what kids today do as opposed to what I used to do just a couple of years ago.

But, could we really just chalk it up to people losing their fear over being "prudish"? It happens with every generation. Should this be normal already or has it just gone too far?
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:40 AM   #4
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I blame the parents
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:45 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by BrownEyedBoy View Post
No, it's a lot more complicated with than kids just having more time on their hands. It scares me to think what kids today do as opposed to what I used to do just a couple of years ago.

But, could we really just chalk it up to people losing their fear over being "prudish"? It happens with every generation. Should this be normal already or has it just gone too far?
I don't know, honestly I can't even wrap my head around it. All I know is that I'm only 24 years old, but when I was in high school I spent most my time not IN school either working, doing my homework, or at gymnastics. I couldn't text nude pics if I wanted to b/c I could barely afford my gymnastics equipment, let alone buy a phone and plan for texting. So, I guess I'm thinking that if kids these days did something productive with their time, they'd be less inclined to sit around taking nude pics of themselves. Maybe kids these days just have a very low opinion of themselves and others. It's sad, really, when people have so little self-respect.

Maybe it's not different than any other generation, but yes I believe it's going too far. These days, you can't take something like this back, you can't just forget about it and eventually no one remembers. Putting stuff like that online or passing around digital photos...you never know where that's going to crop up. I even mentioned something to Phil because he told me a friend of his who is also a teacher made some comment on Facebook about a school where she was working. Turns out it was a private comment to him, but I am amazed at what people will put and say online about other people like it's just yesterday's gossip and no big deal.
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Old 01-15-2009, 12:08 PM   #6
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i think kids today are no different than kids 10, 20, or 30 years ago. the difference is that they have different tools. and if the kids of 30 years ago had these same tools -- and same access to information -- we'd see much the same thing.

one thing that hasn't changed is that anyone who has stopped being a teenager frets and worries about the "kids today" and how much more innocent said person was when they were a teenager, despite the facts that, 1) you only hear the hype, the bad stuff, 2) the "kids today" will probably say the same thing when they grow up, 3) most kids turn out just fine. in fact, despite the recent small uptick in teen pregnancy in some states, by most measurable standards, "kids today" are actually doing better than kids were 20 or 30 years ago.
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:08 PM   #7
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I blame the parents
Don't do that.

Blame Canada!
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:36 PM   #8
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Lord only knows what I would have done with a camera phone for "two minutes in the closet".
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:40 PM   #9
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Lord only knows what I would have done with a camera phone for "two minutes in the closet".
me too....
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Old 01-15-2009, 06:33 PM   #10
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A few years ago, my Mom had a small Christmas party in our home for her coworkers who were all teachers. So as I was milling about, I talked to one guy who had three kids, and his oldest daughter had just turned 9. He was talking about her birthday party and so on and I asked him what she wanted for her birthday and he told me that he got her a cell phone with an unlimited plan.

I remember thinking then that he and his wife were out of their mind. A 9 year old needs to be on a cell phone 10 hours a day??

I don't know how different kids are, it's also a question of how different their parents are. I know with 100% certainty that my grandparents would have raised us in a far stricter way than my parents did, for example. But that aside, the technology is obviously facilitating some of the things and therefore making it easier.
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:17 PM   #11
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Teenagers are interested in sex and are actively exploring it?? No wai!
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:22 PM   #12
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My kid (if ever) will have a carrier pigeon at it's disposal till it turns 18.
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:26 PM   #13
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Some people have too much time on their hands....
My understanding is that an excess of spare times leads to religiosity, not sexting. . .
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:35 PM   #14
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My kid (if ever) will have a carrier pigeon at it's disposal till it turns 18.
So you want your kid to be texting pics of him/herself doing rude things with a carrier pigeon to everyone?

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Old 01-16-2009, 12:53 AM   #15
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why didn't i think of this sooner.
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