What's the big deal about sexting?
From the LYWB.com team: Most of our posts on LYWB.com are carefully worded so as to protect the innocent. Most of the time we're thinking G. This is a PG-13 post. You might want to ask your mom before you keep going if you should read this. Let your mom be your friend and screen your post. Good practice to do anyway!Monday, I told you Aly's story. Aly is a Christian girl living in a Christian home, and yet she got wrapped up in some serious patterns of sin that were very difficult to break free from. One of those sin patterns was sexting.
Aly wants to share her story with other young women so that they can avoid the traps that ensnared her. With that in mind, we decided to tackle the question "What's the big deal about sexting?"
Sexting is a growing trend among teenagers. Research shows that at least 20 percent of all teens in the United States have sexted nude or semi-nude photos of themselves. Most teens see sexting as nothing more than high-tech flirting. They reason, "It's just innocent fun. I'm not hurting anyone."
That simply isn't true. Many young people seem to take the same credit card approach to sexting that they do to other sexual activity—"play now, pay later." If you are sending or receiving nude images, you will pay a price and you will get hurt.
One of the primary consequences of sexting is public humiliation. Studies indicate that 90 percent of guys who receive a sext will share it with others. You may send an image with the intention that only your boyfriend will see it, but it's not likely to remain for his eyes only. And when the images get out, the consequences can be devastating.
Many teens mistakenly think that sexting is perfectly legal. It isn't. In fact, nationwide, young people are being slapped with serious charges as a result of sext messages that didn't stay private.
In 2007, two 13-year-old girls were threatened with charges of child pornography and open lewdness after pictures they took on their cell phone were widely distributed without their permission. When the girls claimed they didn't know what they were doing was a crime, the district attorney in the case said, "Well, as you well know, ignorance of the law is not a defense."
Over the last few years many teens have been prosecuted as sex offenders for sending and receiving sexual images on their phones. In one case, three students at a Pennsylvania high school sent explicit images of themselves to four male classmates. All seven face felony child pornography charges and a permanent label of "sex offender."
Sexting isn't harmless fun. It is a felony offense. Legally, it is creating child pornography. Forwarding it is legally seen as trafficking in child pornography. The young people who are prosecuted for sexting will never escape the label they received as a result of their conviction. When they get married, they will never be able to go to school with their child, go to a soccer game, or invite other families over for dinner because they are sex offenders. For the rest of their life there will be consequences. All from sexting.
Sexting isn't only illegal. It's devastating. In 2009, a female student from Ohio hung herself after pictures she took on her cell phone were distributed without her permission. That doesn't sound like harmless fun. Clearly, people can get hurt.
These may seem like extreme examples, but they paint an accurate picture of the wake of devastation sexting can leave in the lives of those who participate. Even if the law doesn't catch you, images you send of yourself won't stay private. Those images will exist forever. Your future employer could see them. Your parents could see them. Your future spouse or future children could see them. And then, somebody will definitely be hurt. Psalm 101:3 says, "I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar" (NLT).
A nude woman or nude man is not vile or vulgar, but God asks us to wait to reveal ourselves in this way until we are married. There is a time and place for full exposure, and it has nothing to do with cell phones or the Internet. God's standards for your love life aren't limited to what happens in the bedroom. Sexting is wrong because it reveals the secrets of your body to someone who is not your spouse.
Note: Large portions of this post are taken from The Bare Facts: 30 Questions Your Parents Hope You Never Ask About Sex, which Erin wrote with Josh McDowell.