The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Breaking News

Community News Network

April 10, 2014

Teens trading naked selfies for mugshots



Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

Sexting hasn't ended, despite the misery it causes and the hope that easily bored teens will move on to something else. There were two fresh highly public outbreaks this month. The largest spread across six counties in Virginia, where more than 1,000 pictures of naked 14- and 15-year-olds were pinged by 100 teens on Instagram.

The fun stopped when a mother found some unfortunate photos on her daughter's Instagram account. The kid had been playing a game - a variation of "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" - in which teens could get access to nude photos of others by posting one of themselves.

 In the second incident, a group of middle-school children in Barrington, Ill., an affluent suburb of Chicago, were sexting. Will pre-pubescent teens be next?

The police are involved in both cases, and criminal charges could be brought. A photo of a naked underage teen is child pornography, a felony. Teens don't realize that, or block it out. Holed up in a room, or at a party, snapping a crotch shot apparently seems like such a nifty, fun thing to do. (Adults can be stupid, too. See former Rep. Anthony Weiner, aka Carlos Danger.)

Having the nude shot replaced by a mug shot might be a good thing. It could wake up the stupidest kid.

In the meantime, what's happened to parents? They understand the peril but often cite the fear of invading their teen's privacy as reason not to intervene - as if a mindless kid ruled by hormones should be able to keep sexting private when Mom and Dad are paying for the smartphone.

Invade away. The cost of having a parent pay for your unlimited texting should be that you can't ruin your life or someone else's by sexting. Just as there are parental controls on television, there is widely available software to monitor the devices kids walk around with. Some will send the parent any photo the child takes before it can take flight.

Parents have to realize there isn't a sufficient shaming mechanism at work these days. There wasn't one when I was a kid, either. But back then, mistakes didn't go viral.

The urge to share is so great that in a notorious case, a group of teenagers on the football team in Steubenville, Ohio, took pictures of their criminal behavior. They had video of partygoers cheering on the players as they violated a girl. They drew a line at sending a picture of one of them urinating on the victim but a kid bragged about it online.

The perpetrators' photos convicted them. To his credit, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine didn't stop there. As hard as it is to imagine (or perhaps not where football is concerned), adults had covered for the students. DeWine indicted them, too.

Maybe that case didn't get enough publicity to curb sexting because it apparently remains endemic. If criminal charges are brought in Virginia and Barrington, let's hope it makes headlines and becomes a teachable moment in every middle and high school. Maybe that's what it takes to get through those thick skulls.

In the meantime, just put a nanny device on your kid's phone while pointing out something teens already should know: Their privacy can't be invaded because no one has any left.

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • An oncologist uses scorpion venom to locate cancer cells

    Olson, a pediatric oncologist and research scientist in Seattle, has developed a compound he calls Tumor Paint. When injected into a cancer patient, it seems to light up all the malignant cells so surgeons can easily locate and excise them.

    July 22, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.00.42 PM.png VIDEO: Train collides with semi truck carrying lighter fluid

    A truck driver from Washington is fortunate to be alive after driving his semi onto a set of tracks near Somerset, Ky., and being struck by a locomotive, which ignited his load of charcoal lighter fluid.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 21, 2014

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 21, 2014

  • Starved Pennsylvania 7-year-old weighed only 25 pounds

    A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy authorities described as being so underweight he looked like a human skeleton has been released from the hospital.

    July 21, 2014

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • A quarter of the world's most educated people live in the 100 largest cities

    College graduates are increasingly sorting themselves into high-cost, high-amenity cities such as Washington, New York, Boston and San Francisco, a phenomenon that threatens to segregate us across the country by education.

    July 18, 2014

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • Facebook tests button to let people shop from its website

    Members on desktop computers or mobile devices can click a "buy" button to make purchases through advertisements or other posts on the world's largest social network, the Menlo Park, California-based company said Thursday in a blog post.

    July 17, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • web_starbucks-cof_big_ce.jpg Starbucks sees more Apple-like stores after Colombia debut

    This week Starbucks opened its first location in Colombia — a 2,700-square-foot store with a heated patio, concrete columns, mirrors on the ceiling and walls of colorful plants.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: New story emerges about Texas children locked in hot car

    After footage showed Texas shoppers breaking the windows of a hot car to rescue children trapped inside, additional witnesses have come forward to correct the story behind what has become a viral video.

    July 16, 2014