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Why Kids Sext, by Hanna Rosin


Stashed in: Young Americans, Texting, Snapchat, Snapchat, Tinder!

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For the same reason they Snapchat and Tinder. They think they're invincible. They're stupid.

Most of the girls on Instagram fell into the same category as Jasmine. They had sent a picture to their boyfriend, or to someone they wanted to be their boyfriend, and then he had sent it on to others. For the most part, they were embarrassed but not devastated, Lowe said. They felt betrayed, but few seemed all that surprised that their photos had been passed around. What seemed to mortify them most was having to talk about what they’d done with a “police officer outside their age group.” In some he sensed low self-esteem—for example, the girl who’d sent her naked picture to a boy, unsolicited: “It just showed up! I guess she was hot after him?” A handful of senior girls became indignant during the course of the interview. “This is my life and my body and I can do whatever I want with it,” or, “I don’t see any problem with it. I’m proud of my body,” Lowe remembers them saying. A few, as far as he could tell, had taken pictures especially for the Instagram accounts and had actively tried to get them posted. In the first couple of weeks of the investigation, Lowe’s characterization of the girls on Instagram morphed from “victims” to “I guess I’ll call them victims” to “they just fell into this category where they victimized themselves.”

Lowe’s team explained to both the kids pictured on Instagram and the ones with photos on their phones the serious legal consequences of their actions. Possessing or sending a nude photo of a minor — even if it’s a photo of yourself — can be prosecuted as a felony under state child-porn laws. He explained that 10 years down the road they might be looking for a job or trying to join the military, or sitting with their families at church, and the pictures could wash back up; someone who had the pictures might even try to blackmail them. And yet the kids seemed strikingly blasé. “They’re just sitting there thinking, Wah, wah, wah,” Lowe said, turning his hands into flapping lips. “It’s not sinking in. Remember at that age, you think you’re invincible, and you’re going to do whatever the hell you want to do? We just couldn’t get them past that.”

It's frightening how so many kids don't take this seriously.

This is one of the clearest cases of culture zooming past the legal system we've had.  Legislatures were idiots not to anticipate something like this as they have turned natural and obvious behavior into felonies.

Why is it frightening to you?  In 5, 10, or 20 years, why do you think any of this will still be a problem?  I think most adults past some age are not really getting what's changing and where things are going.

This is clearly the mindset of essentially all youth today:

Secrets:

http://www.metrolyrics.com/secrets-lyrics-mary-lambert.html

I Love It (I Don't Care):

"You're from the 70's, but I'm a nineties bitch."

And then there's this (I got bored right away, but it seems like a different perspective and uses "thots" which I just learned in that article in the paper form while flying back from Vancouver today.  That whole issue is interesting.):

I think it bothers me because the sexting teens have shown little ability to exercise good judgment.

The phone makes it so easy for them to do something wrong quickly that they'll regret later on.

How can you be sure that it is not exercising good judgment?  Why are you sure they'll regret it later on?

That apparent wisdom was true, and might still be somewhat true.  But will it continue to be true, even if it is now?

It is clear that society has changed, which means meaning and consequences have changed.  Expecting expected consequences before a big change to the be same or even similar after a big change seems to be ignoring the fact that there was a big change.

Anything not intrinsically destructive, like hard drugs, and even a few things that are often destructive, like alcohol and, in the past, smoking, that are key to social presence and competitiveness, and especially optimal pairing, are not going to be too criticized in the future.  If you can only perceive these things as deviant, blasphemous, etc., then you may not see it.  But they are simply hard flirting and courting, part of the current social language.  It is interesting partly because it is implicitly calling out, and basically destroying, the traditional views and social controls on sex as being dirty, requiring special, often irrational, control, etc.  You can view a lot of this as being sex-positive social capital which doesn't seem intrinsically bad.  An enlightened view encourages people to be proud of their bodies, to have a healthy attitude, to go for relationships that will make them happy, etc.  There are clearly unhealthy aspects here, as with many things that teenagers do, but perhaps they'll learn those first hand, as teenagers often prefer.

What does long-term efforts to prevent open sexuality result in?  Ireland's situation is a prime example:

http://theweek.com/article/index/263824/everything-you-need-to-know-about-irelands-disaffected-catholics

'"The church has provided its enemies with weapons of mass destruction. It has no one to blame but itself."''Now, overt religiosity is widely seen as backward — as a form of resistance to peace. "There's no stigma in not going to church," said William Crawley, a Presbyterian minister in Belfast. "In fact, there's a stigma to going. Parents need to explain why they are sending their children to church."'

I see your point.

If you tell teenagers they can't do it, they want to do it more.

The thing that stays with them long after they sext is the criminal record as a sex offender. Until the laws change, that has dire consequences to their future, right?

6 months ago, I would have agreed that such a conviction was a big danger.  Now we're so far into farce territory, and it has now been widely documented and reported in depth, that no prosecution for such a thing for a teenager would succeed or stick.  It would amount to selective prosecution which breaks equal protection under the law.  Literally, if everyone's doing it, it is not illegal.  (Well, except speeding.  And, used to be, drugs.  And copyright infringement.  But I digress.)  Somewhat ironically, the severity of a resulting conviction will make and has made such prosecutions far less likely, at least for the underage.  I also see it as a First Amendment issue.  The flawed but so far hard to rebut theory for the exceptional child porn laws was for actual and even highly indirect theoretical protection of children.  While I feel for that cause, the resulting typical ham-handed legislation was way over the line.  Those legal chickens have now come home to roost.  For legislatures to not have anticipated this is negligence.  I pointed out to friends that this was coming 10 years ago.  Why is it that most adults can't identify with the motivations of teenagers anymore?  Other countries are worse, outlawing even uncertain cartoons and animations.  If the world works the way the theory of those regulations implies that it does, that might be worth it, possibly, but I don't think it does.  And the mechanisms seem likely to destroy more than they preserve.

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