Newspapers reported last week that at least 100 Canon City Colorado high school students, as well as several 8th graders, sent nude photographs of themselves to each other as part of a larger sexting ring.
When kids do get caught sexting, the adult response is typically two-fold: First, it's met with shock; second, it elicits a knee-jerk reaction. In each of the sexting scandals above, for example, teens faced suspension from school, possible felony charges, or both. These severe penalties extended even to kids whose only crime was to have been the recipient of the sexually explicit message. Hardly fair.
Imposing lifelong consequences for teen behavior is contrary to adolescent development research, which confirms what parents already know-teenagers are impulsive and often make bad decisions, but they are also malleable and capable of change. The mistakes they make as teenagers are not predictive of who they will be as adults.
It may be time to rethink sexting laws as they apply to teens, when it is punished far more harshly than the actual sex acts may be.
Sexting becomes a problem of safety when teens, regardless of gender, coerce, share and sell images with no respect or regard for the feelings or rights of the people in them. Sexting illustrates the tremendous pressure kids feel to act sexually -- either coercively, dominantly, or submissively, as an exhibition of gender status.
The Colorado sexting story that has been all over the news is a teaching moment for all of us, including parents. Mom and dad, this is your opportunity to have that uncomfortable conversation with your kids and teens about sexting and other harmful online behaviors.
Many people struggle with getting outside their comfort zone sexually, particularly talking about their fantasies or role playing, but there is no harm in trying something new for your relationship, and this may end up being something you enjoy once you feel more confident and see the good reaction that you get.
Snapchat is a prime example of how important it is for a company to clearly identify its message and then stay consistent. From the start, the founders positioned Snapchat as the antithesis of popular social media sites where users can leave behind a potentially haunting digital footprint.
Cyberbullying and other risky behaviors associated with social media are increasing because children are receiving phones at younger and younger ages.
Child pornography laws were designed to protect children from predatory adults. They were never intended to prosecute teens for sharing images of themselves. This is a disgraceful use of prosecutorial powers.
Keeping kids safe online while also giving them freedom to explore is tough. Giving parents timely information and the skills they need while helping them be good digital role models to their kids is not easy.
Our middle school daughter just received her first phone and I decided to create our own family cell phone and technology use contract, drawing on my own expertise in the area of digital citizenship as well as the expertise and suggestions of others.
School is about to start, and with it, the frenzy of texting and social media on every imaginable device. Here's what I believe: we might not be able to control everything our children do, but we can and must arm them with the knowledge to bring their most conscious selves forward.
Recent findings indicating that sexting, once seen as the purview of pubescents and perverts, is being practiced by all age groups, with nearly 90 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 82 saying they've sexted during their lifetime.
Recently, the UK's National Crime Agency launched a new campaign designed to educate families about the dangers of sexting.
The question: is cybering and sexting about sex or is it the new flirtation? People used to flirt in bars, or at parties.