Kids sexting
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13-03-2012, 10:38 PM
Kids sexting
This is a bit of a disturbing topic so I'm being blunt in the subject line. And now I go back and look at it, I've already derailed myself. Oh well. (TL;DR provided below.)

This really came to the front of my mind at lunch the other day when my boss (of all people) mentioned hearing a radio show about kids being sent naked pictures of their peers. His kids are 9 and 11, and he says to us, "I have no idea what I'd do if someone sent that to my kids."

What the hell are we gonna do for our kids? When I was 14, I was the one rich kid at my school who had a cell phone. It had a text display and no color. The big new thing was those cameras where you didn't have to manually insert film into a slot and wind, you just loaded the cartridge. (And hell, I'm young.) I hit the very early stages of porn being very easily accessible on the internet, but (thankfully, considering the trouble it could cause) sharing...er...intimate...pictures was never a thing for me as a teenager.

But now we inhabit a world where access to information--including information we'd rather kids not see (or produce)--is nearly unlimited. Even if you can train your kids not to take damning photos of themselves, you can't prevent them seeing those things. My boss's concern isn't about what his daughters would do; it's about what OTHER people could do that could harm his daughters, even get them in trouble with the law.

And that scares me. Basically, laws that are designed to bring the house down on pedophiles and child abusers are now bringing the house down on children themselves, for something that, were they a little older, would make us smirk and shake our heads. What the fuck? It sounds like the incidents that used to happen (until the law was fixed) where a guy who had a slightly younger girlfriend in high school turns 18 and suddenly he's a sex offender.

So what do we do? How do we change laws to protect our children (in my case, my hypothetical future children) from suffering harsh consequences unnecessarily? How do we change our culture to accept the fact that teens ARE going to be sexually active and we can't stop them. How do we deal with the fact that kids are going to be unwittingly exposed to naked pictures of adults and even of their peers? How do we encourage them not to be pressured into sex or making sexy pictures in order to feel accepted?

TL;DR: Teens engage with each other sexually just like adults do. How do we keep them safe from a) the internet; b) the law; c) each other?
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13-03-2012, 10:50 PM
Thumbs Up RE: Kids sexting
Good questions.
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13-03-2012, 10:54 PM
RE: Kids sexting
(13-03-2012 10:50 PM)kineo Wrote:  Good questions.

Good observation. Big Grin

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
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13-03-2012, 11:03 PM
RE: Kids sexting
(13-03-2012 10:38 PM)rook2004 Wrote:  So what do we do? How do we change laws to protect our children (in my case, my hypothetical future children) from suffering harsh consequences unnecessarily? How do we change our culture to accept the fact that teens ARE going to be sexually active and we can't stop them. How do we deal with the fact that kids are going to be unwittingly exposed to naked pictures of adults and even of their peers? How do we encourage them not to be pressured into sex or making sexy pictures in order to feel accepted?

TL;DR: Teens engage with each other sexually just like adults do. How do we keep them safe from a) the internet; b) the law; c) each other?

How do we "change laws" to protect our children? We don't. We can't. The judicial system has already ruled on sexting as a form of pedophilia, and that means that this won't be overturned unless someone amends the law or passes a new law that implicitly changes this to make sexting legal. That's not going to happen.

How do we deal with the fact that kids will be exposed to porn? We just "deal with it" (i.e. suck it up). I have a 5-year-old daughter and I currently censor all internet that she's exposed to (the only time she gets to use the internet alone is through a free program called "Zoodles" that does the censoring for me). But when she gets older, maybe around 12 or so, I'll just let her go wherever she wants to go on the internet. This will mean porn. It certainly did when I was a kid, and porn was a lot harder to come by in those days. But I don't care. It didn't turn me into some kind of sexual deviant. I'm sure she'll be fine.

And the only thing I'm going to do to "encourage [her] not to be pressured into... making sexy pictures" is to inform her that it's illegal and punish her if she gets caught. After it no longer is illegal (age 18), she's free to fill the internet and her friends' phones with naked pictures of herself. It's not up to me how she lives her life, just as long as it isn't causing her personal harm.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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14-03-2012, 12:10 AM
RE: Kids sexting
(13-03-2012 11:03 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  How do we "change laws" to protect our children? We don't. We can't. The judicial system has already ruled on sexting as a form of pedophilia, and that means that this won't be overturned unless someone amends the law or passes a new law that implicitly changes this to make sexting legal. That's not going to happen.

Sexting *is* legal. Just not for minors. Regardless of what the judicial system has ruled, we can make the laws change to protect kids from being locked up for doing basically innocuous/normal/natural things. (Like, for example, the 18 year old who has sex with his 17-year-old girlfriend of two years. That's changed; the question is whether this should, too.)

But maybe as a parent you feel that kids taking naked pictures of themselves is not innocuous/normal/natural and can provide some more perspective on that besides just "the judges say it's not okay." Smile

(13-03-2012 11:03 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  But when she gets older, maybe around 12 or so, I'll just let her go wherever she wants to go on the internet. This will mean porn. It certainly did when I was a kid, and porn was a lot harder to come by in those days. But I don't care. It didn't turn me into some kind of sexual deviant. I'm sure she'll be fine.

But...are you really going to just leave it at that? I have been wondering if there needs to be some kind of open, frank..."porn talk" or something. I feel like I might have appreciated a little more frankness about it from my parents.

Course, I never related well with my parents anyway. Maybe a YMMV kind of situation.

(13-03-2012 11:03 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  And the only thing I'm going to do to "encourage [her] not to be pressured into... making sexy pictures" is to inform her that it's illegal and punish her if she gets caught. After it no longer is illegal (age 18), she's free to fill the internet and her friends' phones with naked pictures of herself. It's not up to me how she lives her life, just as long as it isn't causing her personal harm.

I question that approach. You could take that approach with marijuana and underage drinking, but it seems like you're either going to a) win, if your kid is weak-willed (like I was) or b) lose and drive the behavior underground if your kid is strong-willed. I can't say how it will work with you and your daughter, but I'm frankly preparing myself for the idea that someday I might have to raise a douchebag rebel of a kid.
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14-03-2012, 06:23 AM
RE: Kids sexting
(13-03-2012 10:54 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  
(13-03-2012 10:50 PM)kineo Wrote:  Good questions.

Good observation. Big Grin

Thank you, I read n' stuff. Big Grin

Didn't really feel like I could say much more, not having kids of my own and not really knowing what to suggest. Undecided
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14-03-2012, 07:33 AM
RE: Kids sexting
As long as we consider children as this pure little angels sent by god to improve the life of their dumb parents and to be innocent until they suddenly become alcohol abusive and sexual deviant demons when they go to college we won't change any laws nor anything.
We still have this medieval way to deal with issues of locking ourselves in in a futile attempt to make the problems stay away. And we do the same with children, we think we can keep them protected from sexual predators by leaving them be ignorant about sexuality altogether.

What we can do to change things is to seriously thinking about what is the cause of our problems and attacking those causes, not trying to escape from them. And if we really care about children we do this even if it means changing our most basic ideals if we prove them to be useless.

(when I say we I mean the society)

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18-03-2012, 11:57 AM
RE: Kids sexting
You’re not wrong…
The Victorian/Puritan way of teaching that all sex is bad if the subject ever raises causes more harm than good, ignorance is not a defence and it will make people just go and find out for themselves.
Or am I wrong and the “promise rings” and other bullshit ideas working?
Changing laws won’t work, for a start the kids doing it are too young to be prosecuted.

My daughter knew how sex happened biologically from a very young age and how it works on an emotional level as she got older and the concept was easer to understand.
We did the same thing with drugs and alcohol, what they do and how they do it along with side effects and long-term problems as well as the “feel-good” factor and how that works.
No “don’t do it” just the information she needed to make her own mind up.
If I had said to her “don’t do it because I said so” she (like me and her mum) would have been at it that afternoon.

The end result is I have a 20yo who is cautious on what she tries (still tries this and that though) but won’t cave to per pressure.

But many of those she went to school with are just now learning how the world works, and it’s been a hard lesson for a few of them.
I thought it was a parent’s job to prepare their young for the reality that awaits them?

Why is the age of consent so high in the US?
Seriously, 18?
I dunno about you but by the time I was 18 I was pretty well practiced!
Is this the cause of the problems?
Little Jimmy and Sally live in a cocooned environment until they hit collage and then they have freedom for the first time?
Sudden total freedom.
Not fed in as they grew up, giving more concessions as they matured?
Overnight they get booze, sex and transport without authority?

If the speed limits where dropped tomorrow would you put your foot down on a straight length of road?
Just to see? Just once?
But it’s worse than that, not only are the speed limits gone, the block under the throttle has also been taken away.
For the first time, you can floor it…

A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything. Friedrich Nietzsche
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18-03-2012, 12:15 PM
RE: Kids sexting
My question is what the hell are kids between 9 and 11 doing with access to cell phones and no supervision by a parent. If your nine year old is sending naked pics then you are failing in the role of parent.

Teaching rules and boundaries is a parent's job.

Not only are kids being allowed to be brats...not ADD or ADHD...simply old fashioned brats, but they are allowed to have and do whatever keeps them out of their parents' hair.

Yeah, that's a generalization...there are some good parents out there with good kids.

Take the makeup and the slut clothes away from the preteens and below...some of them dress like they are heading for a dance on the pole. Know what they are watching on TV...monitor their use of technology.

If an adult sending those pictures is punished as a pedophile then the parents who don't correct or, better yet prevent, kids from sending these pics should be held accountable.

I'm not anti-social. I'm pro-solitude. Sleepy
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18-03-2012, 06:31 PM
RE: Kids sexting
Listen to a few of the podcasts by Dan Savage.

Sex has little to do with age and by this I do not mean it is acceptable for a 35 year old to date 8 year olds. What I mean by this is when kids start hitting puberty it is far more advantageous for kids to experiment and learn about their sexuality than to oppress it as difficult as that sounds.

This doesn't mean you should sit back and do nothing, it means that if those urges come up you should tackle it with, experiment but BE SAFE, whether thats condoms, taking your time and talking about sex with your parents or who ever the child feels comfortable discussing it with.

the TLBig GrinR version
The answer to all three hinges on knowledge and openness of parents and others to talk about sex in a non taboo and very straight forward manner. Don't want kids to get into trouble on the internet, politics or each other? Discuss the pitfalls and dangerous whilst also teaching the positives and advantages of finding your sexuality at your own pace
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