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Sexting: Know the Facts This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


High-tech has created a new low. The term “sexting” is a combination of the words sex and texting, and refers to the practice of sending sexually ­explicit photos electronically, mainly by cell phone. The incidents of sexting have dramatically increased in the past few years; 20 percent of teens said they had sent a sexting message, according to a 2008 study commissioned by the National ­Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and Cosmogirl.com. Though many in our generation are taking part, few understand the serious consequences of this irresponsible fad.

Recent advances in technology have revolutionized the way we interact socially. Cell phones and e-mail have changed the way we communicate but have led to dangerous and ­destructive behavior. While some teens may think sexting is fun or harmless, this new craze can have devastating consequences. When a photo or video is sent to another person, privacy is lost forever. The content can be broadcast to anyone. The original sender has no control once he or she presses “send.”

The consequences of sexting can be ­severe, ranging from embarrassment to ­imprisonment or worse. Explicit photos or videos forwarded from person to person can cause embarrassment for the original sender. Many teens don’t realize that once they hit “send,” control of who else sees that compromising photo is now completely up to the recipient. You may think you know your friend, boyfriend, or girlfriend, but can you trust them forever?

Many young people who thought sexting was a harmless game ended up having their lives destroyed. In one tragic incident, Jesse Logan, an 18-year-old from Ohio, was mercilessly humiliated after explicit photos she had sexted to a boyfriend ended up circulating among her peers. She eventually killed herself.

Imagine being convicted of the crime of child pornography and serving five year’s probation. You are rejected by colleges, lose your friends, and have to move because your home is too close to a school. You’re unable to get a job, and you have to register as a sex ­offender until you are 43. That’s exactly what happened to Phillip Alpert, a Florida 18-year-old. He ruined his life by circulating nude pictures of his girlfriend (which she had sent him), by texting them to his friends, her friends, and her family. The legal problem: she was only 16 and a minor; distributing explicit photos of a minor constitutes child pornography. The real problem: like many teenagers, he did not understand the long-term consequences of his actions.

Sexting may seem like harmless fun, but teens should think twice before hitting the “send” button. There is no turning back once a message is sent.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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This article has 180 comments. Post your own!

Aderes18 said...
Mar. 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm:
I would never ever send an inappropriate picture of myself! If I was going out with someone and they asked me to, I would dump him right away. 
 
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Muhaha said...
Mar. 22, 2011 at 9:30 am:
I rather they be sexting than actual sex............at least people wont get pregnant..... whatever if couples want to sext then let them.
 
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Fate98 said...
Mar. 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm:
I have a question. Is it just photos and videos that count as "sexting?" Or can it count with words?
 
Aderes18 replied...
Mar. 23, 2011 at 2:52 pm :
That is an interesting question. It can be words too because you can sexualize words. 
 
PaRaNoRmAl627 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 14, 2011 at 4:10 pm :
i would say that its probably just pictures, because even though your words can be used against you, theres not concrete proof that you would actually do any of the things that you talked about. also, flirting through text is accepted for the most part, while sexting is generally looked down upon
 
momofsix replied...
May 16, 2011 at 12:58 am :
Felt it was important for you to understand that it is words as well as pictures. A child here wrote some pretty descriptive texts to a girl and was prosecuted. Please know that you do NOT have to take part in this. If someone should ever ask you to sexted with them pictures or words, or if you have one sent to you, it is important that you tell an adult, teacher, parent, doctor, authority such as the police. It has to be stopped right away and if you report it then the right people can step in ... (more »)
 
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LightningForMyAllergies said...
Mar. 1, 2011 at 6:52 pm:
In my school, sexting is like an epidemic. Guys and girls alike grow to become close companions, then these sorts of questions pop up. It may seem like a confidence booster when guys and girls say," why not, you have nothing to be ashamed of"...but it isn't always about shame. It's more integrity. Just say no, and respect youself. I've taken to saying my phone doesn't send pictures.
 
alex9426 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 29, 2011 at 3:42 pm :
I know this is completely random, but I am very curious about your username. What does it mean?
 
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Carlee said...
Mar. 1, 2011 at 8:39 am:
this is outragous. people need to appreciate their bodies and not trust people with these pictures just because they are your boyfriend or girlfriend. You should never take intimate pics of yourself and send them to people you'll never know where they can end up.
 
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manny300 said...
Feb. 9, 2011 at 2:57 pm:
this thing is bad we will hope this sexting will not spread and embarras sombody with their body.we have to tell them to stop.
 
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crazychic47 said...
Feb. 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm:
people that live in the world these days can't belive people really do that!!! SHAME
 
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ZalphaNeko said...
Feb. 7, 2011 at 7:23 pm:
Well, at my school every year we have two assemblies about sexting and how it is a fellany. I know way too much about it even though I've never done it and I don't know anyone whose ever done it. I'm glad we have those assemblies though because they have probably prevented people from making those same stupid decisions. I mean, these sort of things lead to suicide. It's good for someone to speak out.
 
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emoducks said...
Feb. 7, 2011 at 12:50 pm:
It's kinda gross that people would actually want to do this!  I mean if they want to do it, that's fine, but if you get something like that, just delete it! Don't send it to everyone you know....
 
justanotherteenwriter replied...
Apr. 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm :
if the cops find out that it was sent to your phone, and you didnt report it, you CAN be held responseable. this just happend to me recently and i went to the police and everyhting is fine. even if you dont send it to someone, you can still be held responsable.
 
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HisPurePrincess This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 7, 2011 at 11:08 am:
wow.  that's just creepy.  i didn't even know this existed.  why do people do this?  it's just messed up.
 
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MightSixNine'Her said...
Feb. 3, 2011 at 12:03 pm:
hahaha . imight six nine her , jus like my aim !
 
theinformer12345 replied...
Apr. 4, 2011 at 10:58 am :
hahah i love that song ;)
 
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PrettyGurlRock17 said...
Feb. 3, 2011 at 11:03 am:
I agree with you. People should not expose themselves because once an ex gets mad they can show the whole world if they wanted to.
 
chrisshane10 replied...
Feb. 9, 2011 at 2:57 pm :
that is so true nude pics of u is like a weapon 4 the recipiant they can use wen they want and u can,t prevent that from happening
 
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nspellman said...
Jan. 10, 2011 at 10:23 am:
this is very serious to me and i think everyone should take it seriously as well.
 
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