Sexting (sending nude photos via a mobile phone) is a problem which is occurring at an alarming rate and one which, unfortunately, will only get worse as children are given mobile phones at increasingly younger ages. Children and teenagers either forget or don’t care that once a photo is out there, they have lost control of it and the consequences may haunt them far into their later lives.
Twenty year old Philip Albert is suffering for exactly that reason – in a moment of anger when he was 17 years old, he sent a naked photo of his 16 year old ex-girlfriend to over 70 people, including her teachers, parents and grandparents.
As a result, “Phillip was arrested for distribution of child pornography, put on five years probation, and required to register on the public sex offender list. He was kicked out of college, can’t find a job, and can’t live with his father because his dad lives too close to a high school. As a registered sex offender, Phillip isn’t allowed to live near a school, playground, or a church. Unless his lawyer is successful in getting to court to take him off the list, he could remain on the registered sex offender list until he’s in his 40s.” (http://www.safeteens.com/)
The first Australian case of sexting prosecution was reported in The Sydney Morning Herald this morning.
‘DAMIEN ”EZZY” EADES is caught up in legal history but perhaps not in the way he would have liked. The 20-year-old from Sydney’s western suburbs is at the centre of Australia’s first ”sexting” case, after a schoolgirl sent a nude photo of herself to his mobile phone. The maximum penalty he faces is a two-year jail term.’
As educators, we really have a duty of care to make students aware of the potential consequences of their actions, and to teach them to behave responsibly and ethically online, otherwise a simple spur-of-the-moment decision may cost them years of grief.
See other resources on sexting at our BGS Libguide – Watchful, Wary and Wise: Be Smart Online)