The news site of Miami Palmetto Senior High School

Day 9: Think before you sext

February 9, 2016

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Researchers at the University of Texas have reported that 28 percent of teenagers have admitted to sending a sext. Sexting refers to sending, receiving, or forwarding any message or photograph with a sexual suggestion. Just as any sexual behavior, teenagers may feel pressure from their peers to sext, with the fear of being labeled an outcast. The concept of sex also creates a newfound curiosity for human anatomy. As teenagers explore their sexuality, they become curious with the idea of the nude body. Many rely on a quick and convenient means  to obtain this– the smartphone.

Although this behavior has become increasingly popular due to technology, sexting imposes a variety of dangers. Before sending, receiving or even forwarding a sext, one should consider the following risks and evaluate the potential consequences.

 

The sext can get into the wrong hands.

As the University of Utah’s Department of Psychology concludes, a whopping number of over 25 percent of teens who have received a sext admit to forwarding it to another person. Although the recipient may promise not to show anybody, a friend may search through their phone or the image can be automatically saved onto a server such as iCloud. In 2015, nude pictures leaked of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lawrence because a hacker broke into their iCloud accounts. Once an image or text message is documented, especially electronically, the sender relinquishes  all control regarding who sends or saves the content. Before sending a risky text , one should take into consideration the risk that anybody could see the message, whether it be their friend, enemy or even family member.

 

Employers and colleges seek online information.

It comes as no surprise that employers and schools want to ensure that a potential employee or student maintains a clean and respectable record. In order to ensure that a person meets these standards, employers or admissions counselors  often search online or even inquire about the person through the simple word of mouth. Unfortunately, old photographs and messages could resurface years after the photograph was taken or the message was sent. To help prevent being rejected from a dream school or job, one should think twice before  sending a racy picture over text.

 

Sexting is illegal for minors.

According to Child Pronography laws, naked photographs taken of a minor are not protected under First Amendment rights and are illegal contraband under federal law. For a photograph to be declared child pornography, it does not have to depict a child engaging in any sexual activity; the minor just has to be naked. Anyone who sends or holds these photographs can face statutory penalties including fines and a minimum of 15 years in prison. “Sexting exposes minors to potential criminal prosecution as child sex offenders since the law in Florida has been applied to find minors criminally liable,” attorney Leyza Blanco said.

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