Sunday, April 25, 2010
Maybe if we take away the cell phones, they won't have sex
Did you hear about the latest "sexting" scandal at a Bethesda public school? Students were charging fees for forwarding cell phone pix of other students in the buff. When the scandal was discovered, parents and school administrators were shocked! Aghast! Who could believe this kind of lurid behavior was occurring right under adults' noses among middle and high school aged children?!! Umm, I could. Color me jaded, but nothing involving adolescents and sex surprises me, and frankly, this one was a gimme. A certain percentage of adolescents (more than most parents want to believe!) is sexually active in some respect. And adolescents are risk takers. And adolescents LOVE to talk to other adolescents about themselves and their "conquests." Add a cell phone with camera into this mix and you have the modern day equivalent of the bathroom wall, the locker room, the diary that gets passed around. The basic equation: sexual impulsiveness + technology = sexting. I'm not saying that parents shouldn't be upset about it; they should. These images might stay around indefinitely and could impact their kids' futures in unimagined ways. I'm just saying that parents need to get their heads out of the sand about what their kids are up to. Talk to them about sexting (and about sex). Even more importantly, LISTEN to them. Denial is one of the most dangerous behaviors there is.