A new fad now among teens is taking naked pictures of themselves on cell phones and sending it to their friends. Now popularly called “sexting”, is getting very popular with teens everywhere. Texting which was generally popular among young people, now seems to have evolved into its next phase. See reports on sexting in NYT, AP, USTODAY and KXLY.
According to a recent study, 20% of teens aged 13 to 19 have taken nude or semi-nude pictures or videos of themselves and sent them to someone or posted them online. Most send these gifts to their boyfriend or girlfriend (69%) or someone they want to date or hook up with (30%).
Technology might have also aided this trend. Camera phones, large display screens, broadband internet access on phones etc. have helped to capture and mass distribute images. Youth culture promotes electronic sharing, which is evident from social networking, music sharing, video and personal images.
Instead of watching unknown porn stars, teens prefer to watch their own friends without clothes. Youths are getting more agressive and shedding more clothes to impress their peers. Though first time images are send to their boyfriends or girlfriends only, soon the exposures floats around among all their friends and over internet.
A youth leader in an Indian American church recently told me how he was surprised when browing through phone of one of his youth, he saw several naked images. The kid also confessed that images were of friends in school and church. Most kids getting caught up in this fad are clueless how it will impact them and their future.
But these kids are getting into big trouble. One in five teens may be a child pornographer risking life in prison–for the crime of taking and distributing naked pictures of themselves. Legal frameworks may be weak and loopholes are many. Annoymity of the Net and ease of circulating electronic files poses grave risk not only now, but also for years to come.
Imagine what happens when your future spouse and children come across your naked images. Images taken are being used to blackmail and take undue advantages including sexual favors. It is causing deep guilt of foolish action at the spur of the moment, causing depression and suicidal thoguts. This fad is sure to cause much heartache.