Thursday, December 3, 2009

Oh no, the "youth" have technology!

One-third of youths have engaged in "sexting."

By "youth" they mean ages 14-24, so I'm included there, despite my increasing lack of resemblance to a wide-eyed apple-cheeked little innocent. It's fun to refocus the entire article with this in mind, and read sentences like "[Women] were more likely to share a naked image of themselves than [men], and those who are already sexually active were much more likely to send an image than those who were not sexually active." Already! At 24! I know, I'm the shame of my family. Hell, this entire blog is a truly malignant example of inappropriate youth behavior. Perhaps I'll kill myself: "About 12 percent of those who engaged in sexting activity have contemplated suicide, though the survey didn’t attempt to deduce if the suicidal thoughts were related to the often negative consequences of sexting."

(Fun fact: According to the World Health Organization, 15.3% of all Americans have contemplated suicide. Clearly sexting has protective effects.)

Beyond the definition of "youth" as an age group that's more than half legal adults, my other beef with this type of teen-sexting-panic article is that it's only describing a natural evolution of behaviors that kids have done since the dawn of time. Post-pubescent humans are horny, stop the presses.

The problem isn't that the kids are getting naked; the problem is that the kids might not be aware how permanent and shareable the record of their nakedness is. Kids (and, um, 24-year-olds) may have played "show me yours I'll show you mine" since genitals were invented, but the ability to then go and show hers to all your buddies has been expanded by technology. This is what kids need to hear: not that sexting is "inappropriate" or it'll make you suicidal but that it makes it easier for the whole school to see your junk.

(Total digression: I always hated it when I was a teenager and adults called sexual or vulgar behavior "inappropriate," without specifying what situation it was inappropriate for. If it's not appropriate when I'm off the clock in my own home, maybe appropriateness isn't your real concern. Jerks.)

In the long run, what's going to happen is saturation. When everything is digitally recorded, everyone will have filthy pictures out there; and when everyone is naked on the Internet, it'll stop being a big deal. I look forward to the day when "she took off her pants on the Internet" is about as exciting a news as "she took off her pants in her bedroom."

I also look forward to the day when people respond to "boyfriend shows whole school his girlfriend's crotch" stories with "that asshole boyfriend" rather than "that sexting slut!"


  1. SO with you on that last paragraph. It amazes me how blame and labeling happens when someone else entirely made the situation public. Great post!

  2. Ah, how vividly I remember my mom sitting me down the day I turned 23 and treating me to "the sex talk". How embarrassing. I was clearly too young to be thinking about that stuff, anyway.

    This sex-saturated culture really does make us grow up so fast.

    Also, I'm hear, hearing the last paragraph as well. It really is a beautiful dream.

  3. There's right and wrong, and there's smart and dumb.

    Stealing cars is wrong. Leaving your keys in the ignition and parking your car in the alley is dumb (I know, I've done it.)

  4. Am I the only one who remembers when it would have been illegal? (in a massive sense... technically it's considered kiddie porn) Age of consent is from 16 to 18 depending on the state, any thing lower is illegal.

    And as a side note - guess you really can track the downfall of a civilization based on their porn (personal theory, but so far its held true).

  5. As for the last paragraph, that's not really a sexting issue. Women have been put in a position where they are prevented from having any control over men yet are still demonized for failing to control them ever since rape stopped being a form of property damage. Fix that somehow, and a lot of other problems will go away.

  6. Dan - More than half of these "kids" are above 18. Also, when the "kiddie porn" is taken by the kiddies themselves and shown to peers, it's a grey area.

    I don't know of any civilization that's been downfallen by porn, actually.

  7. I think in the latest case it wasn't the boyfriend sending the pictures to everyone, but a girl they both knew.

    I love how they throw out those statistics unqualified, too. People never inquire further and just take the intended meaning, no matter it's factuality. Although, I would like to see some parents group spring up and embrace mandatory sexting as protection against teen suicide.

    And 24 year olds.

  8. Holly - Think its more of a symptom, not a cause. Was once that a picture of a woman running naked in a field was risque... nowadays everyone is a gynecologist (think that's the right word). And you can't argue that general morals, decency, and politeness have gone downhill over the years (and that's general public, there are exceptions, and the exceptions are typically folks I like to know). I've never cared what people do in their own place, if it's consensual... fine.

    Yet another poor attempt to articulate a complex thought... wish my brain would work.