Friday, February 10, 2012

Sexting: A flash that can last a lifetime

Harlequin’s annual survey reveals surprising insights on the impact of technology on romance today including:  43% of all respondents admitted to ‘sexting’. Though 65% of those women will only ‘sext’ while in a serious relationship, 36% of casual daters admit to sending a risqué message after just a few dates. 27% of all respondents had sent nude photos via emails or text messages

These statistics are not surprising.  The largest group that Sexts are between the ages of 13 and 26.  These people have grown up and come of age during meteoric growth of this form of digital communication.  They are not as suspicious of this medium as people who grew up without it.  Now, that may not be a good thing because it desensitizes them to the drawbacks of this technology.   If you grow up with something, you don’t generally see it as dangerous as it might be. 

Remember, adolescence is a time when kids are bucking parental norms in search of themselves.  Sexting is definitely a symptom of bucking parental norms.  Unfortunately, adolescents are also impulsive and often act without thinking through the consequences.  There are physical developmental reasons for this.  With the cameras and phones that can text on the same device, it removes the extra step of finding a camera that could give enough time to a decision that was made on impulse.

After getting away with it one time, it opens the door for doing it more.  For the moment, it appears that nothing bad happened.  So it can imply it’s OK to do.  This is not a true form of self-expression.  It is acting out impulses that bring a thrill.

The publishing of so many celebrities having been caught in Sexting only makes it more popular.  People, especially younger ones, have a drive to imitate their idols.  But it seems that the biggest factor in deciding to Sext for teens is peer pressure.  The statistic for women doesn’t surprise me.  The percentage of women who Sext is actually higher than it is for men.  This is probably because their male counterparts encourage such behavior or the women feel that they can entice him with such photos.  Men tend to pursue; women tend to say come and get me.  A naked photo says come and get me. 

I do believe the Sexting is not a good thing for the most part because it contribute to objectifying other people.  However, it is here and we just need to learn to deal with it as we do with most other forms of sexual expression.  I don’t believe that we need new or stricter laws.  Sexuality is part of human nature and we will only end up criminalizing people who really aren’t criminals and ruining their lives. 

Sexting can definitely come back to haunt you.  Once you’ve released a naked photo of yourself out on the World Wide Net, it is available for anyone to see.  Say, you send a naked photo of yourself to your boyfriend.  Then, you have a bad break up.  He gets angry and wants to make you look foolish so he sends out your photo to everyone on his list.  Now, it’s out there for the world to see.  Many employers are now going onto social media networks to research employees and potential employees.  They, too, can come across your naked photo that was taken many years ago.  What kind of impression do you think that makes on them?  Not a good one.