Thursday, December 10, 2009

There's a photo of WHAT on your phone!?

Have you tried to buy a phone without a camera recently? It's not easy. Some cell phones are used as much for their photo taking capabilities as their talking capabilities. Great photos have come from cell phones - license plate numbers from hit-and-runs, smiley cute puppies and more. And not so great photos have come from cell phones too and a lot of those fall into the category of sexting.

In a nutshell, sexting is the practice of sending sexually suggestive or inappropriate photos between cell phones via SMS. And wowzas, is it done more than you or I would ever care to know. In fact a recent poll by AP-MTV found that more than 25% of young people are in on sexting and girls do it more than boys. I'll say it again - WOWZAS!

It's not just adults who are blown away by these stats; girls are too. As we've been planning the 2010 Girls' Respect Conference, our girl committee has spoken up about all this. They've told us it's a real problem and they want GSCTX to speak up about it at the conference.

But why wait to speak up? The conference is in June but girls are sexting now. In no particular order, here's five reasons why sexting is a terrible, terrible idea.
  1. It spreads like wildfire. Cell phones are connected to each other and now more than ever, the Internet. One little picture to your sweetie could go everywhere with a mistaken forward or after a nasty break up or even via a hacker. Pop sensation Miley Cyrus had the hacker-experience after sending photos to her then boyfriend. And once those pictures are out there, not even Miley Cyrus can get rid of them.
  2. It's actually illegal. If the subject is under 18, it's child pornography. There are teens who found this out the hard way and will suffer for years.
  3. It'll come back to haunt you. Remember how on point #1 we said you can't ever get it back? Now imagine that photo finding its way to a college admissions office or your dream job's HR department. One word: disastrous.
  4. It might not be so cool. 40% of girls who have done it say it was a joke but nearly 30% of boys thought it meant a girl "expected to date or hook up." (Read the full article from Cosmo Girl and the National Center to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.) What about unintended recipients? People check each other's phones all the time. Will the recipient's mom think it's that cool?
  5. You are worth more than that. You are an intelligent young woman with a lot more to offer the world than your good looks. Don't sell yourself short. You work hard to be respected, listened to and heard; an immature act like this undermines everything you've worked for.
 Take this list and go forth! Let's crush the sexting trend one person at a time!

-Cheryl Black

PS Need more info? Read the Newsweek blog entry from 12/8/09.

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