|Courtesy of Jorge Quinteros via Flikr|
The Dangers of Sexting
We trust our friends, because that’s what friends are expected to do. To be trustworthy. If you entrust something very personal to a friend, usually you believe it is in safe hands. Unfortunately, not all relationships last and if your “friends” have that embarrassing picture, or the post that shows the darker side of you, they may expose them. I’m not saying to doubt your friends, I’m saying that you should be careful about what you share.
Marianna Taschinger, a normal young woman is a victim to revenge posting. She was 18 when this happened. Her boyfriend asked her to send him nude photos, or sext him. “He said if I didn’t want to send them to him, that meant that I didn’t trust him, which meant that I didn’t love him” (source). She sent the photos, to prove her love, but later they broke up. Unfortunately, Marianna found her photos online, in a revenge post website with a lot of personal information.
Once you sext your boyfriend or girlfriend, those photos are no longer yours. Those photos are theirs. They also have the ability to do anything they want with them. And if something were to happen and you guys break up, and they’re mad, they can single-handedly ruin your life with just a few clicks. Nowadays, colleges and jobs check applicants’ backgrounds. They research you and look for your digital reputation. If they find those pictures, it is likely that they won’t accept you (source).
Victims of revenge posting report to feeling humiliated, especially if the post was shared with friends or family. It can cause them to feel unsafe, if the post included an address and name. It can make people feel paranoid about their digital reputation (source). These things really change a person’s life and I, personally don’t want this to happen to me. I never send photos texts that seem embarrassing.
Off To Court
There are also legal consequences too. If you are a teenager and you sext someone, it is considered distributing child pornography. “A first time offender convicted of transporting child pornography in interstate or foreign commerce under 18 U.S.C. § 2252, faces fines and a statutory minimum of 5 years to 20 years maximum in prison” (source). You’ll possibly go to jail for at least 5 years, which is a long time. especially for a teenager.
What is this for though? Is all this worth “proving” your love to your boyfriend or girlfriend? You don’t even know if the relationship is going to last. If someone asks you to sext them a picture, they’re probably not trustworthy. Don’t fall for that trap, don’t mess up your own life.
Conclusion, updated 3/6/2014
Before making this blog, I did not know anything about the consequences of sexting. I definitely understood the concept of revenge, especially since I have a younger brother, but I was never aware of the legal consequences. In my post, I may have focused a little too much on how its your responsibility to prevent "e-venge" from happening. It may have seem a lot like victim blaming. I just wanted to clarify that it is not the victim's fault for anything that may happen. Yes, it is their responsibility to keep track of their photos or information, but a lot of people look past the criminal, because they think the victim could have prevented everything. Learning that sexting at this age is actually illegal surprised me. I never really thought of it as distributing "child pornography". Making this blog was sort of eye opening for me, being one of the few teenagers who never received or sent a sext, now I know a little bit more about the world that I live in. I would also like to thank those who commented, and I apologize for not replying. I totally forgot. You guys left some really great feedback, especially those who asked questions back. When I was researching this, there were no states that had any kind of law against revenge posting, and to hear that there are now two states is pretty great. I believe that we are moving in the right direction. Since I have failed to respond to everyone, I will just answer all the questions right here. (These questions are from VolleyDolly7) I believe that parents could make a small impact on their child's decisions, but make sure you don't tell them in a form of a lecture. That might make them automatically ignore you, I know this from experience. There has been records of victims of revenge posting which dramatically changed their life in a negative way. They most definitely regret their decision, but we should still remember the person who made the photos public. They usually get away with it with no consequences. Thanks for your input! (Next up is Girl15) The Snapchat app allows you to send a picture to someone else. That picture will "self-destruct" and "disappear" after several seconds. What a lot of people don't know is that there is this handy thing called a screenshot. The people who do know, sends their images regardless. This may give people a false sense of security, making them believe that no one else could possibly see the image, so yes, this may encourage sexting. In the article about the boys, there were no records of what happened to the girls. I imagine that they were blamed for the whole thing since there were many people defending the boys, saying that they didn't mean any harm, or they're innocent. Thanks for the feedback! (Question from Paco) I previously answered this same question by VolleyDolly7. I agree that in our society today, it is extremely easy to share things whether its on purpose or not. Thanks for your response! (Question from Markie) I believe that teenagers, or kids in general are mirrors to the world. We reflect what we hear and see and we do what we think is acceptable in society. The teenagers were very open about what they did. They did share the photos with their friends at school. They thought it was an ok thing to do. So, to answer your question, yes. The boys probably did this because of the media and what they are exposed to. Thanks for sharing your opinion! (Questions from Ms. Gerla) I think that the person who received the photos and shared them with the world deserve some kind of punishment. They are actually single-handedly ruining someone's life. I believe that revenge posting should be some kind of crime. Stealing a certain amount of money is considered a felony, but what the criminal took usually can be replaced. Revenge posting takes away someone's privacy, their security, their stability, their jobs, their social lives and so much more. These things are worth more than a thousand bucks. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. This conclusion may be a little longer than I expected it to be, but I owe it to you guys, the readers. Thank you so much for your feedback and your opinions.