The problem begins with the cell phone industry. Has anyone noticed almost every cell phone comes standard with a camera? Try to find a cell phone to buy that does not have a camera built into its design and you will have very few options from which to choose. The reality is that cell phone cameras are highly intrusive and there is really no way to know when someone with a cell phone may be photographing you or your child.
Sending or receiving photographs through texting and email which contain nude or partially nude pictures is considered sextual texting. Taking explicit pictures of anyone under the age of 18 years of age is considered a felony in most states. Teens that are charged and convicted as an adult may face time in prison and a lifetime requirement to register as an offender. Being required to register as a sex offender may make going to college impossible, cause difficulties in finding employment and place restrictions on where one can reside. Most registered sex offenders cannot reside within 500 to 1000 feet of a daycare, school, or other place where children frequent or reside.
It is important to remember in the world of electronic media and social networking that many companies search the web prior to hiring someone. This means what someone writes or posts to his or her MySpace, Face book, or other social media or social networking websites can say a lot about them. Once something is sent into cyberspace it is almost impossible to get it removed.
So, before sending explicit photos by cell phone or email to friends one should consider carefully what might happen to that picture if the relationship with that bff or boyfriend ends on a bad note. Also, consider what may happen if the picture falls into the wrong hands (perhaps through a typo when entering the inteded email address). Finally, what if the email or text is forwarded to others by the recipient. In the end, teens must respect themselves enough not to send out inappropriate or sexually explicit photos.
Perhaps, the most important determining factor for anyone to consider before sending out any electronic media message or picture is for the sender to consider how he or she would feel if what is being sent out ends up in the inbox of their mother, grandmother, or boss. If you would rather not have mom read or see what you are going to send...then the best choice may be to simply delete the item altogether. Although, sexting may sound like fun the reality is this simple act is ruining lives.