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Tell Your Teens -- No Naked Cell Pics!

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How can we make sure our teens don't take these kinds of pics?

Ashley Greene, Vanessa Hudgens

Naked cell phone pics of "Twilight"'s Ashley Greene and "High School Musical"'s Vanessa Hudgens surfaced over the past week. How can we make sure our teens don't make this same mistake?

Here are some talking points to discuss with your own kids.

1. Taking or forwarding naked cell phone pics when you're underage is illegal.

Six Pennsylvania high school students are facing child pornography charges after three teenage girls allegedly took nude or semi-nude photos of themselves and shared them with male classmates via their cell phones.

The female students at Greensburg Salem High School in Greensburg, Pa., all 14 or 15 years old, face charges of manufacturing, disseminating, or possessing child pornography, while the boys, who are 16 and 17, face charges of possession.

Make sure your teen knows they could go to jail for taking or receiving naked cell phone pics -- and they could even be forced to register as a sex offender. This is serious stuff, with repercussions that could last a lifetime.

2. Just because you send a pic to ONE person doesn't mean they aren't going to forward it to 100 others -- or even post them online for the entire world to see.

Many of the "sexting" cases that are pending involve teens who sent naked pictures to tens, hundreds, even thousands of people. One guy even allegedly forwarded naked photos of his ex-girlfriend to HER PARENTS. Once you put a picture like that out there, you have no control whatsoever over who is going to see it. And no matter how much you trust your boyfriend NOW, you have no idea how he'll change when and if you break up. There are no guarantees.

3. Sexting has ruined -- and ended -- lives.

Jesse Logan sent nude pictures of herself to a boyfriend. When they broke up, he sent them to hundreds of other students. The girls at school harassed her, calling her a slut and a whore. She was miserable and depressed, afraid even to go to school.

Last July, Jesse Logan hanged herself in her bedroom. She was 18.

Sending a naked picture ended Jesse's life. Don't put your life at risk.

4. If you lose your phone, the pictures could end up in the wrong hands.

Phillip Sherman of Arkansas learned that lesson after he left his phone behind at a McDonald's restaurant with naked photos of his wife on it. The photos ended up online, along with their names, address, and phone number. His family has been devastated, and they are even suing McDonald's over their lives being ruined by these leaked photos.

5. Your phone could get hacked.

Both Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Greene say that their phones were hacked and the photos were stolen. Nothing is 100% secure. The only way to make sure nude photos of you don't leak is NOT TO TAKE THEM.

6. Know that Mom will be checking your phone!

Moms, make sure your teen knows you will be checking the photos on their phone often. After all, you pay the cell phone bills. This should be a deterrent from them taking (or receiving) racy photos -- especially if they're fearful THEIR MOM will see them!

Some experts say that you shouldn't even buy your teen a cell phone with a camera in it ... but practically every cell phone comes with one these days. It's important to talk to your teens openly about sexting, and emphasize the many reasons why they shouldn't do it. Keep the lines of communication open.

How do you discourage your teens from taking racy cell phone pics?


next: What's Earth Done for Me Lately?
14 comments so far | Post a comment now
Gena August 12, 2009, 1:51 PM

If your kids don’t have the morality to see how sleazy it is to pose naked for photos and then send them out, than you’ve failed as a parent long before your child has a cell phone. The decline in moral values and a core sense of right and wrong, not to mention modesty and decency, is America’s true tragedy, and ultimately, this country’s destruction. No nation can long exist where moral anarchy is viewed as cute and the popular thing to do. Parents should sit down and evaluate just when it was that families in our nation lost their moral compass. The headline on this post says it all. Read it again and ask yourself how we’ve come to such a sorry state among American young people that they have to be convinced not to send out nude photos of themselves.

Anonymous August 12, 2009, 4:13 PM

Yes, tell your teens not to do this. But, if your daughter is in her mid to late twenties…please, by all means.

Amanda August 13, 2009, 1:02 AM

The photos leaked again, they’re at tinyurl.com/ashleyphotos

Shannon August 13, 2009, 6:16 AM

if people are taking photos like that its their own choice and if the photos leak out then thats what they get for their own stupidity.
if you teach a child from a young age that taking nude photos of themself is wrong then the parent would not have to worry. the fact is that the average american family consists of a single mother and several childern. the kids of todays society are able to run a muck and do what they want.
if the parents started to teach and discipline their children from the start these things would not be an issue!
its the parents fault more then anyone elses

-shannon-

Alice August 13, 2009, 11:00 AM

I’m an 18-year-old girl that has never taken part in the whole “sexting” craze. My parents are careful to monitor my cell phone and internet use – if I did something inappropriate online, they would be sure to find out about it quickly. I have a good relationship with my parents, and I would never want to do anything to ruin the trust they have in me. I think that another reason why I have never taken part in the “sexting” craze is my involvement in extra curricular activities and my community. These activities are a positive use of my time, and I really enjoy them.

I believe the best way to make sure teens avoid sexting is building strong relationships between parents and their children. If you’re a parent that would like to have a stronger relationship with your child, the website www.justsayyes.org is an excellent resource – check it out!

gwen August 13, 2009, 11:27 PM

I am a busy mom of seven. I had issues last spring with inappropriate cell phone use. My son’s phone number was given out and he was contacted by someone two states away! Talk about a wake up call for me as a mother! We had the talk about cell phone use and potential trouble. So I started looking for a safe cell phone for minors. I found it in Kajeet … they have outstanding parental controls. My favorite is being able to control who calls can come from and go to AND there is even a time manager so I can turn off use during school/study hours and even impose an evening curfew! I tell every parent I cross pathes with about how happy I am with their service. Most recently I even joined their mom sales team (why not I already was selling them to everyone).

Kristen August 18, 2009, 1:09 PM

We have 2 of our boys on kajeet phones which enables us much greater control. We are getting ready to purchase our oldest(13) a kajeet as well. Pulling him off our family plan with sprint for this very reason. (sexting) We had tried working w/sprint to get his phone locked down and he still managed to get online and also download things without our consent. With kajeet this isn’t a problem!! We saved 15% off with a coupon code. Promo Code:1115

john@Baby Pushchairs November 19, 2009, 2:55 PM

I think, making your kids understand that forwarding or using a naked picture or video over cell phone is an illegal offense for which they can be arrested also, is the only way to keep them away from all these things.

Me August 26, 2010, 7:17 PM

BULLSHIT

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Life Plus March 17, 2011, 2:47 PM

Chris- I completely understand your reluctance to direct youth to faith communities when dealing with self injury. Unfortunately many of us do not know how to handle self injury and end up doing more hurt than good, even when we have the best intentions. Dale Ryan, a professor at Fuller Seminary, said Our goal is getting to the place where even pagans know the church is a place they can come to get help with this. The church should be a place of hope, safety, and healing. We have a ways to go, but education and understanding, like your network is doing, is a great start. Turing the tide of abandonment- you got it right on. Thanks!

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