“Hey, girl! I saw that picture today. Someone sent it to me and I opened it and, well, there you were. Look, you probably thought he would love it, and I’m sure he did. But so did half the school. Thought you should know.” Sexting. Let’s be blunt. With a simple click, one little picture could destroy your life.
Didn’t see that one coming? Well neither did 20 percent of American teens today. One in five teenagers, (22 percent of teen girls, 18 percent of teen boys) have sent or posted nude/semi-nude photos of themselves. While that number maybe staggering, the number of people who have sent or forwarded nude/seminude photos is even worse: 59 percent of all teens. So before you hit the send button, think about this. The evolution of a sext-message:
25 seconds: How long it takes for you to send the photo. A shutter click, a sassy tagline and the phone does the rest.
30 seconds: How long it takes for him to forward the photo…to everyone.
24 hours: How long before the whole school has seen it.
1 week: How long before someone’s parent complains after they hear about or see it.
And then school administration steps in.
2 weeks: How long before your significant other breaks up with you.
2 weeks: How long before you, your ex and his buddies—who also forwarded the photo—are processed for charged with distributing child pornography.
1 month: How long before you switch schools, change your phone number, delete your Facebook account and sever ties with anyone connected to this situation. You might think the worst is over, but think again.
2 years: How long before your dreams of going to college are nearly jeopardized. Your admissions interview went great, but when you’re about to leave, your interviewer says there’s a discrepancy in your file. Something about an arrest and pornography?
10 years: How long before your past revisits you as you pursue your career. High school is a distant memory. You interview for a job at an interior design company, when the interviewer sees something in your file. All you hear is “wouldn’t look good for the company.” Hey, they’re still hiring at McDonalds…
Harsh? Maybe. But the reality is this: Once you send that picture, it is not in your control anymore. A sext is like a virus. Once it infects one person, there’s no telling how far it will travel. So do the best thing for yourself and don’t even let yourself get sick.