Editorial: Sexting, teens don't mixTeens live in that wild, wild west and the “bad guys” they are apt to encounter at some time or another include social networking “creepers,” textual harassment, sexting, urban legends, identity theft, cyber bullying and predators.
By: Detroit Lakes Tribune Editorial Board , Detroit Lakes Tribune
Teens live in that wild, wild west and the “bad guys” they are apt to encounter at some time or another include social networking “creepers,” textual harassment, sexting, urban legends, identity theft, cyber bullying and predators.
In presentations he gives to students, school staff and parents, Detroit Lakes teacher and information technology specialist Kent Mollberg said parents need to get a handle on what their children are doing with technology they may not fully understand. Mollberg’s advice: Get educated.
Learn how to monitor web browsers and mobile phone call histories and check them often. Kids should not be allowed to clear them more than once a day.
Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace are dangerous to kids because the information they post can leave them vulnerable to identity thieves.
Mollberg encourages parents to get involved in their teens’ technological social lives by also creating profiles on such sites.
It’s important for teens and adults to think before posting. Maintaining privacy settings is vital.
Social networkers should be cautious when posting personal information or venting about teachers and employers. Anything posted is forever. Employers, school districts, marketers and unwanted “creepers,” as teens call them, monitor networking sites, Mollberg said.
In the good old days, students were disciplined for talking, chewing gum or stepping out of line. Today, concerns about drugs, alcohol, cyber bullying and sexual harassment are the norm.
In 1980, we communicated with a rotary phone. Today it’s text, social networking and email via mobile phones.
According to a survey conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com, 36 percent of teen girls and 39 percent of teen boys say it’s common for nude or semi-nude photos to get shared with people other than the intended recipient.
Once the photos are out there, there is no getting them back and the impact can affect future employment, college admission and personal relationships.
In 2009, two cases of suicide were attributed to sexting gone viral, according to Psychology Today.
Teens need parental help to navigate the pitfalls of the new wild west, and parents have to be snoopy to save their kids from themselves.
The Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Echo Press are owned by Forum Communications Company.