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Teens and "sexting"

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dazdandconfuzed posted 1/21/2014 15:06 PM

During a recent facebook check that happened because DS13 was sending me some red flags, I found a "junk shot" he had sent to his GF. (There is just not enough mind bleach in the world). DH and I are having problems... agreeing I guess you could say (or maybe fighting for days, lol!) about how serious this is.

I printed out some articles written by criminal attorneys in our state that spell out exactly what laws he could be prosecuted under and what the possible jail times for some of those charges. He was "grounded" for 2 weeks. This meant no hanging out in his room by himself, no TV, XBOX, disabled his Facebook, confiscated the cell phone he took the pic with, no friends over, limited to 1/2 an hour per day on the house phone.

H feels it is a "boys will be boys" type of thing and that 2 weeks of that type of punishment is enough. I think this is serious stuff and maybe he should get some of his privileges back in stages. I also want to talk to DS's IC (depression) to see what his recommendations are. I do want to keep this OT - but H is a recovering SA, as well as an alcoholic. I feel this means we should be just as concerned as we would be if DS was drinking. H feels I am being unfair by to DS by bringing H's issues into it at all.

So - have you caught your teen sexting? What is an appropriate punishment? Is it really not that big of a deal and I should chillax a bit? Honestly I would not be offended to hear that - maybe H is right and I am over reacting?

The girl in question - who asked for the picture, was grounded for a month but her mother doesn't usually stick with punishments and I can already see she has her Facebook account back. I am so not ready for this stuff.

cmego posted 1/21/2014 15:10 PM

My kids aren't that old yet, but I know what my answer would be…I think you are being perfectly appropriate.

No 13 year old should be sending junk pics to a girl. Just…no.

The whole "guys will be guys" is a shit poor excuse for bad behavior choices.


Kajem posted 1/21/2014 15:41 PM

My kids were out driving after state mandated curfew for young drivers. It was XH's weekend, but my car. XH was doing the it's no big deal bit. I actually talked to the resource officer at her school. He called DD into his office and showed her the "mandated" consequences had she been caught. She was mortified. It had the trickle down effect to her sisters.

I would do the same if my kid had been sexting. My kid wouldn't listen to me, I think it was because XH minimized what I would say about the consequences for her actions. The police (an impartial party that liked her) telling her the consequences to her actions went a lot further. The next time XH tried to tell her consequences didn't matter - she new that wasn't true.

Would I do it again? Yes

Cally60 posted 1/21/2014 16:00 PM

It was a good idea to talk about the legal aspect of it. But it might have even more effect to remind your son of this very old autograph book rhyme and of why there's a lot of truth in it:

Never tell your secrets to a friend.
For if your friend becomes your foe,
Your foe will then your secrets know.

Much as teenagers think their love and devotion will last forever, in their hearts most of them know that it probably won't. So you might point out to your son that at some point (far in the future, obviously :-)) he and his girlfriend just might break up, or at least have a fight and be angry with each other for a few days, or hours, before they get back together.

His girlfriend will almost certainly have saved that picture of his Important Asset. And if/when the two of them have that fight, there will be nothing to stop her forwarding it to one, or all, of her friends. Or posting it on Instagram or Facebook - even briefly. And at least one of those friends will forward it to HER friends. And to her boyfriend. Who will share it with one or all of HIS friends. Who will share it with the captain of the football team. Who will share it with those gorgeous cheerleaders. And so on......

And even if everyone else supposedly does it, does he REALLY want that Important Asset of his to be shown to anyone in the school who delights in such photos and, probably, in analyzing or making fun of it?

And what about that possible photo on Instagram? Such photos tend to remain somewhere online forever. One day, far in the future, when he's trying to get a job with Google/ Apple/ Price Waterhouse/big company relating to his interests, maybe someone will do a search, in connection with his application, and decide that maybe he has rather less intelligence than had been thought. Or perhaps some brilliant, beautiful, talented girl will fall in love with him - because he's obviously going to be a real catch when he's grown up. ( Remind him of this, it never hurts to reassure one's teenagers of their wonderfulness) But she, too, might see that adolescent photo, or hear about it from a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend whose daughter was one of those aforementioned cheerleaders. And she just might fall out of love, after all.

It's so hard for teenage boys, isn't it? They are often expected to be all macho, to brag and to act as though they know all about sex, etc. But inside many of them are soft and scared and terrified that the class bully will find out that they know and do a lot less than they pretend. I love the scenes in "Billy Elliot" where Billy shows compassion to his little friend who dresses in women's clothing. And the circumstances in which the same friend appears again as an adult. (Trying not to post a spoiler here..... :-)

Sorry, I've gone away from the main point. But as someone for whom adolescence was fraught with anxiety and much solitary misery, my heart always goes out to anyone going through that period!!

[This message edited by Cally60 at 4:11 PM, January 21st (Tuesday)]

dazdandconfuzed posted 1/21/2014 16:19 PM

We did discuss the "out there forever" aspect, for sure. Luckily it was in a PM so a google search shouldn't find it - but of course if/when they break up she can always tag his name all over it when she posts it to the world. As my brother said - thank god this stuff wasn't around when we were kids. Sigh. I did calm down a bit - I actually wanted to remove the door from his bedroom when I first found it, as I didn't think he could handle the privilege of privacy.

Jrazz posted 1/21/2014 16:51 PM

Oh god I don't even want to think about DD being a teenager. I think I would duct-tape her clothes on for a year if I busted her doing this.

H and I will be having quite the conversation about the consequences roster when the time gets closer. Bad cop, worse cop.

Lionne posted 1/21/2014 17:45 PM

Our state is just now considering downgrading such pictures between kids under 18 from FELONY CHILD PORNOGRAPHY to misdemeanors. In many places he and she could be charged with possession and distribution of child porn....its a oversight in the law, but it is the way the law is written.

You are not over reacting.

Lucky2HaveMe posted 1/21/2014 18:09 PM

I think you should also talk to the girls mom/parents. They need to know what their dd has received so that she can tell him not to send crap like that to her again. THAT would surely get his attention.

Good Luck! When my son was 12 (he is now 27) we caught him looking at pics of naked Britney Spears online. H talked to him about how *normal* it is, but how back in his day it was magazines and the internet is way more dangerous... Then I swooped in all mama bear and grounded him from the computer and told him how disappointed I was that he violated my trust.

dazdandconfuzed posted 1/21/2014 18:10 PM

Our state will sometimes prosecute as distribution of pornography TO minors if the person it is sent to is also a minor.

between kids under 18 from FELONY CHILD PORNOGRAPHY to misdemeanors

That is such a tough issues - my first thought was no way should that be just a misdemeanor, but then the thought of teens being charged with a felony at that age, carrying it around for the whole lives... In my state he would also end up on the sex offenders registry.

circe posted 1/22/2014 06:22 AM

Luckily (??) we live in one of the places that made the news for teens getting arrested for distribution of child pornography when they sexted each other. Which meant that DS19's class, then in junior high, and the entire high school here had a series of lectures from police officers about what constitutes child pornography and what can happen to them legally for sending naked pics. They also had parents come and speak who had children whose sexts had gone viral whose lives were torn up and in one case committed suicide because of the harassment and bullying involving their naked pictures. There were evening talks for the parents, too, and it was HORRIFYING to hear those stories for me.

For me and DH it went from being a vague "well, didn't we do things equally ridiculous and ill advised off camera when we were that age?" sort of feeling, to "this is so serious I can't believe we were so blase about it."

And it did scare DS's entire age group into feeling a huge negative association with that. I think the parents detailing the bullying their poor children dealt with (and it was awful, and graphic, and disgusting) as a result of their naked pictures being distributed really affected the students the most.

So in a sense our town was lucky that it hit so close to home for us because they then went out of their way to squash any "sexiness" from that activity. I'm grateful. It really is serious.

dazdandconfuzed posted 1/22/2014 09:24 AM

Which meant that DS19's class, then in junior high, and the entire high school here had a series of lectures from police officers about what constitutes child pornography and what can happen to them legally for sending naked pics.

I wonder how something like that could be organized. That sounds like a fantastic program for the kids. I'd love DS to see something like that, even if the horse is already out of the barn.

I have already talked to the girl's mom, by the way. And I think, after day 4 of arguing, H is starting to come around to my point of view....

Pentup posted 1/22/2014 09:34 AM

Is there any way that the Mom would meet you with the vp girls phone and computer to make sure that was erased?

bluelady posted 1/22/2014 10:07 AM

I don't have kids, but I teach in a high school. One year, a girl in Grade 9 was trying to get in with the "popular" Grade 12 kids, especially the boys.

She ended up taking a naked picture of herself and sending it to one of the boys who, in turn, sent it to all of his friends.

Well, a few weeks later, the girl's mother found out and came into the school. The sex crimes unit of our local police force was called in and there was talk of the girl being charged with creating and distributing child porn and the boys with possession and distribution of child porn. The boys, being in Grade 12 and 18 years old, were looking at being charged as adults.

If that weren't bad enough, the girl was then completely shunned and ostracized by her peers. Not because she had taken and sent naked pics of herself (even though that would be embarrassing enough), but because the popular boys were in trouble and looking at serious charges and it was "all her fault".

It was not a good situation at all. The girl's mother was fighting for her daughter's dignity and privacy. The boys' parents, while they acknowledge their boys had done wrong, were terrified that this mistake would label their sons as sex offenders and ruin their lives forever, and were fighting back. The school was on the hook for some of it because a lot of the texting (other than the original) took place on school property.

So, to get back to the point - sexting, especially involving naked pictures, needs to be taken seriously. On top of everything else, nothing - NOTHING - is ever really deleted. Ever. The images are housed out there somewhere, and it wouldn't take much for a motivated person to find them at any point in the future.

tushnurse posted 1/23/2014 08:13 AM

As a mom of teens, one of whom has become sexually active in the last few months, I have some thoughts on this.

1. The problem with "Boys will be Boys" statement is Girls are just like boys now when it comes to being sexual, and being comfortable with it.
When I was a teen in the 80's, girls were still the ones to say no, and hold things back for a bit when it comes to sex, and many girls back then were still saving themselves for marriage, or at least a commited partner, and NO ONE does that anymore.

When my son was a freshman he was approached by a senior girl who was very sexually aggressive, and she encouraged him to send picks, and do things sexually that I would have not done prior to my 20's. We sat our son down then, and encouraged him to consider that he is setting his reputation for the next four years by being with this girl who was known to give blow jobs on the bus on band trips, did he want to be a man whore.
We also discussed the out there forever thing with texts, posts, and pics. Lastly we told him exactly what happened with H and me when we became sexually active, and why. That we were responsible, and we understood the desire to that, but encouraged him to wait until he was with the person he saw himself spending his future with.
Being the kid of a nurse, I of course have always been ok talking about BC, and STD's, showing some scary pics of what can happen helps too.

My son has been in this relationship for 6 months, and he is truly head over heals with this girl, is she "The One" I doubt it, but he did wait a bit, and he is being careful, and he is comfortable enough to come to mom and dad, and ask for money for condoms. Luckily this lovely young lady has a mom who had raised two other girls, and has BTDT, so good decisions, and open discussions are being had all around.

Not sure about the punishment for what he did, I can tell you that we have set up the kids phone/email accounts to blind copy us on emails, and posts to FB, and Twitter. Can't follow texts, but they know we do random phone checks, so hopefully that discourages it enough. At my house punishment would have been scrubbing toilets, showers, and windows (because that is what needs attention right now.)

Wow I rambled a bit, but that's my thoughts.

Holly-Isis posted 1/23/2014 13:50 PM

We always think we're in a special relationship that won't go sour, but this site is proof of that not always being true. If she gets mad, he's at her mercy. Perhaps this will make him realize that once you send them out, the pictures aren't yours anymore:

Dylan Sprouse, one half of the Sprouse twins from the Disney Channel show ‘The Suite Life of Zack & Cody’ (and the little boy from ‘Big Daddy’), had a bit of a nude photo leak scandal over the weekend. And yes, he’s already admitted it’s definitely him. And his junk.
Said photos were allegedly leaked by an ex-girlfriend of Sprouse, who decided to share the racy snaps with the Internet.
Dylan admitted it was him via Twitter when the photos hit the web, and he did so in the most adorable and self-deprecating way possible.
See his tweets below.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get more hilarious, Dylan’s brother Cole jumped in to join in the hilarity.

Take note, former Disney stars – this is how you deal with a nude photo scandal.

StillLivin posted 1/23/2014 15:48 PM

Caught DSS with pix from his GF. Both were underaged.
Spoke to him about criminal charges he could be faced with. Deleted the pix. Grounded him for a month. And informed him that under no circumstances was he allowed to receive ANY pix from friends anymore.
STBXH also said the boys will be boys BS too. I didn't listen to the horseshit coming out of his mouth, though. We all know NOW how F...ed up HIS boundaries were.
I checked DSSs phone EVERYDAY for more pix coming across. It's also how STBXH got busted later.

[This message edited by StillLivin at 3:49 PM, January 23rd (Thursday)]

dazdandconfuzed posted 1/24/2014 09:24 AM

When I was a teen in the 80's, girls were still the ones to say no, and hold things back for a bit when it comes to sex, and many girls back then were still saving themselves for marriage, or at least a commited partner, and NO ONE does that anymore.

OK - this right here is part of my problem, I guess. It was the 80s when I was a teen and DS has been dating this girl for about 8 months now so I have gotten to spend a lot of time with her - and I ASSUMED she was saying no, because when I was their age that's what a girl was supposed to do. Gotta get my freaking head out of the sand. The whole situation gets a little weird in general because the girl is 2 years older than my DS so it isn't the greatest situation in general.

he is comfortable enough to come to mom and dad, and ask for money for condoms.

I'm super jealous. I wish I had that kind of relationship with my special little guy. We have had "the talk" in lots of pieces, not as a one time thing, and the fact that I discuss things frankly with my son seems to have embarrassed him more than anything else.

I don't know how I will handle it when it's my DD11 growing up. I think I need to start looking for all girl boarding schools, maybe up in the artic circle?

tushnurse posted 1/24/2014 11:00 AM

Just keep talking to them openly without shame about it.
Tell them about all the people you know who have messed up their lives with having babies young, who have had STD's, and now can't have kids etc.

Be very honest about what you did, and how you did it. No judgement, no shame. If they feel safe about it they will talk to you. Hell my Son's girlfriend was even asking me questions about her periods, and why they were so bad.

(((and strength))))

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