9 Responses to “Teens, Technology, and Sexting: Criminal Acts or Teachable Moments?”

  1. The “point” about adolescents exploring sexuality by sexualized behavior (dressing, talking, flirting, sexting, etc.) is very good. We ought not to fight with nature or to distort something that will be a lifelong pleasure for most people.

    But it seems the proposed “policy” of not criminalizing sexting is ignoring the real problem. Intimidation, harassment, blackmail and aggression are also “natural” but they are criminal. The rise of suicides of girls no longer able to endure the “consequences” of their exploration of their natural sexuality through sexting is informative, if you look at the details. Each of the cases had months, even years of extreme hazing, bullying, and the worst kind of deliberate and cruel harrassment. For each “sext” message sent there were thousands of bullying follow-up messages (for the target girls, not for those who escaped public attention). Criminalizing this form of “assault” is needed; we can’t stop technology being used for sort-of-innocent-but-at-least-natural sexting. But we can make hate-crimes worse for the haters than for the hated.

    • S. Craig Watkins says:

      Hey Captain:

      Great comments, I completely agree. While I believe it is a mistake to criminalize sexting in cases where innocent but misguided flirting is happening there are other situations that appear to be more troubling.

      For example: Angered over the break-up with his girlfriend a teen decides to send her partially nude photo to peers at school as a way to get back at her. Most would agree that something malicious has happened in this scenario and I believe that you are right to suggest some form of “assault” has occurred. Figuring out the nature and the severity of the assault is required as is determining the proper response. These are issues that we will have to address with greater clarity.

  2. Jenna says:

    As a high school student, I completely agree that we should be better educated about these things. I for one, have been caught in this type of situation and it’s very hard to get out once you’re in. I believe the problems will decrease over time. Friends of mine have asked for addvice on such things and, because of my mess ups, I know how to help them. I’m looking forward to being a part of Mr. Watkin’s upcoming study.

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