If it has mutual consent, then is sending nude or lewd text messages still considered legal? Many teenagers believe that they are safe to say and send whatever they want through instant messaging, but when does that naïve feeling of security begin to harm reality? Sexting is the sharing of pictures or choice words, via technology, that exploits the body or mindset of the sender to its intended or unintentional receivers (Dictionary.com, “Sexting”). A survey in the year 2012 has proved that roughly twenty percent of male and female students in high school have sent out nude or raunchy text messages and photographs, and over twenty-five percent of that same group of students have resent the same photographs and suggestive text messages on to other children (Ackerman, p. 22). Most children over the age ten are engaging in risk-taking when they send out those types of instant messages, because majority of them do not realize the consequences of their actions. Sexting is harmful because it has long-term effects, it authorizes the approval of public access, and it introduces a mild form of pornography.
Numerous teenagers do not understand the long-term effective damages that sexting will have on their lives. There is no good ending or outcome when it comes to whether to engage in sexting or not, since once something is uploaded into the internet then that image or text can ever be recovered or erased (“Litchfield County Times”, p. 11-13). Privacy is dead. That fact is the reason why there is a great percentage of teenagers ending up later on in life with their careers destroyed, is because of their previous involvement with sexting between other peers. What is worse is that close to all of the teenagers who share in sexting either play it off as not a big deal or just ignore it as a regular occurrence in natural behavior (Hird, p. 56). "Sexting promotes a desensitized peer culture where sexual activity becomes more difficult to resist… ” (Kidder, p. 100). Children are becoming less and less willing to curb this unconscious appetite for sexting since the culture openly encourages these devastating behaviors (100). This prevalent invincibility that teenagers have adopted with the practice of sexting is why they are not aware of the dangers that public access can and will result in.
Sexting approves of the openness of public access to anyone, because technology holds and stores all information forever. Many teenagers are using the social websites as an excuse to connect and share their photographs for the world to look at them. “Students are even uploading this material to networks like MySpace where their friends can have easy access to them” (p. 56). The rise of social networking websites is becoming an issue since it provides an outlet for teenagers to “post up” dirty or vulgar images of themselves for the whole nation to see. That alone in itself creates a problem, because the sender does not know who the receiver(s) are on the other side of that internet site. It is easy for the sender to get manipulated into thinking that that specific group of people are the only ones that are viewing the posts and comments, yet in reality they are opening the door to unwanted public eyes. There is a fine line that teenagers are walking when they participate in sexting since it can lead to major consequences such a petty crimes.
Sexting also crosses that threshold into a minor version of the already prominent crime of pornography. The issue with parenting is that parents cannot do a good job at decreasing sexting rates if they do not know what their children are doing. “Teens will be less likely to sext if they know the possibility of criminal punishment exists” (Todd, p. 72). The reality of criminal charges could likely awaken the teenagers’ eyes to the real world of sexting is not profitable in any way. Parents should be worried and concerned in what their children are receiving and/or sharing with other people when it can cause a felony for children over age eighteen to be in possession of sexually-charged photographs or text messages; a class A Misdemeanor for the minors of ages thirteen to seventeen (“Litchfield County Times” and Hird, p. 10, 56). The Justice System and some people in Congress are battling back and forth constantly over whether sexting should stay a crime, or if should be dropped completely as nothing more than a simple process in the average teenagers’ growing life in United State’s culture.
Sexting is not beneficial to society because of its life ruining long-term effects, how it provides easy access to everyone all around the world, and the possible presence from the threat of crime charges. Sexting is a toxic habit since it is known for inflicting long-lasting bad effects. Sexting also gives the indirect okay for the internet usage in public access for anyone to view, copy, and send someone else’s nude pictures or untasteful instant messages. Plus, sexting is on the borderline of the age limit on whether the receiver or sender will be charged with a minor or major crime of child pornography. Parents and school systems need to take action on controlling this epidemic before it adapts into the behavioral rules of this nation. Parents can start to monitor their children’s technology usage, while teachers and staff can put monitor blocks on certain websites and social networks to restrict the child’s access from being tempted into sexting. “Many adults think that America’s sex-obsessed culture encourages teen to sext” (p. 57). This sexually-charged nation is one of the reasons as to why many children believe in this false immunity, and why they are more reluctant to quit this rising trend. As a solution, teenagers can also help in this prevention of sexting by becoming aware of the risks that they are taking when they decide to sext with other peers. If this current situation is not dealt with head on and prevented from growing in statistics, then one day in the near future the U.S. will merge in the acceptability of sexting without any judicial repercussions.