Moms Talk: Inappropriate Text Messages

We want to know what our mommy readers think—share your opinions in this Mom Talk Q&A.

Collingswood Patch invites you and your circle of friends to help build a community of support for mothers and their families right here in Collingswood.

Each week in Moms Talk, our Moms Council of experts and smart moms take your questions, give advice and share solutions.

Moms, dads, grandparents and the diverse families who make up our community will have a new resource for questions about local neighborhood schools, the best pediatricians, 24-hour pharmacies and the thousands of other issues that arise while raising children.

Moms Talk will also be the place to drop in for a talk about the latest parenting hot topic. Do you know of local moms raising their children in the Tiger Mother's way, and is it the best way? Where can we get information on local flu shot clinics for children? How do we talk to our children about the Tucson shootings? How can we help our children's schools weather their budget cutbacks?

So grab a cup of coffee and settle in as we start the conversation today with a question from Rebecca Gillis:

Recently, an article from The New York Times was brought to my attention, titled “A Girl’s Nude Photo, and Altered Lives," in which one girl's life was ruined after what the Times calls “sexting” a nude photo to her boyfriend. According to The New York Times, "sexting" is defined as, “an imprecise term that refers to sending sexual photos, videos or texts from one cellphone to another.”

The most shocking part of the article? The girl was reportedly only in eighth grade. Technology has altered all of our lives in one way or another, but mostly in the light of convenience. But, to young people—who do not yet fully comprehend the power of technology, or the large audience it could reach—technology has become a detriment to the lives of some youth.

The said article claims this girl sent a photo via media message (MMS, a text message containing images) to her then-boyfriend, thinking it was harmless. But after their relationship ended, this boyfriend allegedly forwarded her MMS message to another girl, who then forwarded it to a whole list of people, who kept the trend in motion.

This entire network of technological gossip occurred during a 24-hour period, reported the Times. In one day, a girl was socially blacklisted and her entire family humiliated—because of one picture message.

And we arrive at my Moms Talk question of the week. Do you know what kinds of text messages your kids are texting to their friends, boyfriends, girlfriends—or even strangers? Do they know what the term "sexting" means? Do they know the legal ramifications that surround "sexting," or what classifies a text message under this term?

In what ways can parents prevent inappropriate texts from being sent? For those of you who have spoken with your children about it, what approach did you take, and did it work?


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