Teens and sexuality has been a topic for decades. The latest fad of teen sexual expression has been a fad that has been around for at least 2 years. SEXTING. I’ve been talking about this issue with my youth leaders for well over a year, and the problem has only grown. With the ease of text messaging, we’ve seen teens flocking to texting. You can text in school and not get caught, texting plans can be cheaper than regular plans and teens seem to do all of their communication in 140 characters or less. Sexting is the sending nude or semi-nude photos of oneself via text messaging. A way of having “safe sex” via texting if you will. This lie of it being safe has been one of the many reasons why teens have been sucked into it.
Being a Youth Pastor, I’m not naive enough to think my students are doing it…in fact I would guess that at least 10% have done it or have seen it done (that is a MODEST estimation).
With the inception of text-plans, sexting has increased dramatically and sadly it is a fad that has only increased in appeal and use.
You may have heard of Vanessa Hudgens sending nude photos of herself to her boyfriend via e-mail…that event in my mind served as a huge catalyst that only PERPETUATED this problem. In fact I would argue that her decision to do that opened the doors of young teen girls everywhere to thinking it’s OK. Here a young TV/movie star, sending out nude photos of herself, getting publicity for it and boys across America googling her nude photo could in fact seem attractive to young teen girls who are uncomfortable in their skin, seeking the approval of boys.
The affect on teen boys and the way they relate to their girlfriends after this event is also a big issue. I can only too well hear teen boys saying: “Hey Vanessa send nude photos to her boyfriend. We’ve been dating a month now…if you loved me, you’d text me some too!”
I’m NOT being over-dramatic either, I’m being serious! The things that celebrities do, shapes the way teens live their lives.
I’m sad to see that teen girls are giving in and teen guys are putting pressure to sext. This will have HUGE implications on our teens in the coming future. The porn industry is probably cheering this on, because soon these boys and girls who weren’t meant to see a nude body yet, will soon desire more. They will want to see girls/guys masturbating, having live sex and it will skyrocket the use of pornography in our country 10-fold. More infidelity will slowly creep into the picture, more sex, more babies and more STD’s.
This is the problem we face. How can we answer these issues? What can we do to fight this battle as parents/youth leaders/ youth pastors? I think it starts with trust. Can we cultivate with these teens an atmosphere of trust where they will willingly discuss these issues with us? I think we need to dialogue with CLEAR heads about these issues. I think the worse thing to do is to sneak in and find the pictures, the ground the teen from here till eternity. It’s hard to not snap and go crazy. If a teen would’ve said to me: “I sexted my boyfriend/girlfriend. He/she saw all of me and it was fun!” I would have the definite urge to flip-out, tell the parents, call the cops and break his/her cell phone right there! Punishment will be a NECESSARY piece to this puzzle, but dialogue is just as important if not more important. Teens need to know the dangers, implications and the future results of such behavior.
How do we do that? I want this blog to be an open forum of discussion on this. It is HUGE. How can we punish, yet dialogue about sexting and other teen sexuality problems? How can we share with teens the importance of chastity, both in the act of and in this fad of texting?
Here are some GREAT articles about sexting. Please read them so you can further your nowledge on this issue facing teens today:
PS: You can Google “sexting” and tons more articles will appear. LET’S DISCUSS!