Press-Republican

FYI...

April 22, 2014

Teens trading naked selfies for mugshots

(Continued)

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.

 

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