To Send Or Not To Send

The hot guy in your science class finally notices you. Well, finally is a probable exaggeration, but nonetheless you’re “talking” now. He asks for your number so he can text you. After a few messages back and forth he asks for a pic. Boom! This is the moment that you will be judged, and the outcome of your decision could quite possibly cease any further communication with the boy you can’t stop thinking about. Next thought…What kind of pic is he asking for? Should I send the one where I’m at the beach in my bikini or the one where I’m with my Grandma for her 90th birthday? Or, is he looking for a casual sexy pic? We all know which one a boy would prefer, but instead of pining over which pic to send, we should be asking ourselves WHY. Why does a boy need a photo of you? He sees you every day in class. Did he forget what you looked like? Does he need a reminder that he likes you? When we think of the why’s, we dig a little deeper into the real reason behind sexting.

According to research via DoSomething.Org, teenage girls have a few reasons for WHY they participate in sexting: 40 percent do it as a joke, 34 percent do it to feel sexy, and 12 percent feel pressured to do it. Sexting is defined by the U.S. court system as “an act of sending sexually explicit materials through mobile phones.” The messages may be text, photo, or video. Sending or receiving a sexually suggestive text or image under the age of 18 is considered child pornography and can result in criminal charges. Sexting is a dangerous form of communication often associated with acronyms such as the ones found below.

IWSN - I want sex now

GNOC - Get naked on camera

NIFOC - Naked in front of computer

PIR - Parent in room

CU46 - See you for sex

POS - Parent over shoulder

99 - Parent gone

Most often teen boys ask for a pic so they can show off to their friends, very much like collecting baseball cards. Girls send their best selfie and the relationship gets comfortable…until he asks for a sexy pic. While nearly 70% of teen boys and girls who sext do so with their girlfriend or boyfriend, 61% of all sexters who have sent nude images admit that they were pressured to do it at least once, according to GuardChild research. The pressure to send a sexy pic, especially when you have been dating can be extremely stressful. Having the right mindset can help seal your decision of “To Send or Not to Send” as easy as ordering your favorite Starbucks drink. Feel free to use my top five reasons for not sending sext messages.

  1. If you’re under the age of 18, it’s illegal.
  2. Ask yourself this question. Who will see my sext? Another statistic via DoSomething.Org, 17% of sexters share the messages they receive with others, and 55% of those share them with more than one person. Yes, this includes the boy you are dating who probably told you he would never share your photo.
  3. You lose complete control of ANY photo you send to another person. This goes beyond sharing…This alone should make you feel very comfortable saying no thanks.
  4. Retaliation often occurs when a couple breaks up. It is highly probable the boy you are dating will not become your future husband. Is sending a compromising pic of yourself really worth the risk?
  5. Social consequences such as getting kicked off a team or extracurricular club at school, losing a job or scholarship. Assume your photo WILL get seen by others.

Knowing how to handle a sexting situation can make all the difference for teen girls. My advice, just say NO. I know what you’re thinking girls. This two letter word is not as bad as you think. There’s several ways of standing true to yourself without seeming lame, however your decision is based on your morals, values and personality. If a boy doesn’t like a NO response and judges you or pressures you, he’s not the one for you. What he says to anyone else will never define you or your self-worth. I wish I could ask all girls to record my last two sentences and put this on repeat when dealing with situations like this. Here’s my top three ways to end the pressure of sexting.

  1. Keep it funny. Send him a pic of a monkey butt. If he doesn’t get the message and continues to pressure you…he’s a frog. Prince Charming wouldn’t ask in the first place.
  2. Say NO - Trust me, it’s OK to use these two letters together. YOU win and find out how respectful he really is before moving further in the relationship. You also help change what is considered the “norm” when it comes to the popularity of sexting. And the answer is yes, one person can help create change. After all, that’s where change begins.
  3. If you don’t have the courage to say NO, blame it on your parents checking your text messages.

In high school, family, friends, boyfriends, school and extracurricular activities are the core of your life. Seeing beyond those four years is difficult and looks like a galaxy far far away. Remember, what you do today will reflect your tomorrow. Decisions you make today shape your image and whether we like it or not, our online digital footprint reveals our identity and moral compass. This footprint stays with you longer than any high school relationship. In fact, it stays with you forever.

My Final Thoughts

Your digital footprint serves as an online portfolio of who you are, what you do, and by association what you know. When you are pondering the question “To send or not to send” a risky post, THINK before you respond, not only for your online reputation, but for the value of your self-worth. Besides, a great guy with a positive moral compass won’t ask.

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