CyberSexting: Consequences are Still Severe for Youth
Today, another headline out of Michigan: Students Sentenced to Probation; Phones Taken Away in Social Media Sex Case, (http://www.dailytribune.com/general-news/20150319/students-sentenced-to-probation-phones-taken-away-in-social-media-sex-case), is yet another cautionary tale, in spite of the recent legislation that is intended to relieve some of the more lasting criminal consequences young people face when they are caught cybersexting or cyberbullying.
A few weeks ago, I came across this blog post from a newspaper in my own community: Sexting in Van Zandt County (http://vanzandtnews.com/sexting-in-vz-county/).
No community or school district is immune to the risks of cyberbullying and sexting. Any child that has access to a cell phone is not only a potential victim, but a potential perpetrator.
Although these children in both articles avoided jail time, felonies and life long registration as sex offenders, being excluded from extracurricular school sponsored activities and the use of cell phones during this time of their lives has a huge impact on their connectivity to the outside world. They’ve grown up not knowing another way to quickly and easily socially connect. No face time for sports, exclusion from proms and graduation festivities will leave some pretty big holes in their overall school experience, which is supposed to be one of the happiest memory making time of their lives. Having to explain their actions on every job and/or college application will be a source of embarrassment. Perhaps the worst consequence is missing that job or scholarship opportunity, that may ultimately impact their financial success in the long run.
The best way to combat these unfortunate incidences? Provide training, education and a safe place to talk about how to avoid getting involved in these cyberspace nightmares. Ignoring the risks or denying a problem exists will not help our children.