Dangers of Teen Sexting

It’s Not Just a Christian Issue

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Summer Skyes 11 courtesy Flickr, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ no changes made

Some people have come up with a variety of definitions for sexting, but generally sexting is considered the sending (including forwarding) or receiving of sexual or sexually suggestive photos or messages via electronic communications like emails and text messages.  Pretty much since the internet was born, people have been using it as a mean to distribute all types of pornographic or sexual material, but since communication has become more electronically based, sexting has boomed in popularity, because it’s as simple as clicking a button.

  However, there are inherent dangers of teen sexting, some of which may seem glaringly obvious, but others may not be anything we’ve considered before.

Do Teens Really Sext?

The answer to the question is “yes.”  While that may seem crazy to some, others sext regularly for a variety of reasons.  Recent research has estimated that about 28% of teens have sexted, and a higher percentage of girls over boys were solicited to send a sext.  

The reasons for sexting vary.  Some find that they’re just curious about nudity in general.  Others feel pressured to sext.  If everyone is doing it, why not them?  Some sext because they truly think they’re in love, and they are trying to step up the intimacy between them and their partner.  For others, it’s just that they really weren’t thinking.  It was a silly impulse.

The reasons for sexting vary greatly, but that doesn’t mean that sexting is necessarily a good idea.

  There are consequences that can be associated with sexting, so we need to think things through before we hit that “send” button.

What are the Consequences?

Some people sext and they never see an issue with it.  A picture or suggestive message is sent, and it never lives to see the light of day.  It may seem innocuous and not a problem, however, that may not be the end of the story:

  • Not everything stays private.  We may think our text messages, photos, and emails are safe, but think about every story you’ve heard about phones and computers getting hacked.  We’ve seen even celebrities have their private photos stolen and posted all over the internet for people to see.  No matter how secure we think our electronics are, there is always the possibility that the content on there can be stolen and made public.
  • Not everyone can be trusted.  Unfortunately, we’ve all been the victim of betrayal at some point, and we probably thought at the time that that person we trusted would never, ever betray us.  It’s hard to believe that someone close to us would take a sext and share it with others, but we all know that it happens.  People gravitate toward gossip and sordid stories.  Unfortunately, we don’t always know who we can trust, and putting a sext out there means it may not actually be for that person’s eyes only.
  • It’s not always legal.  States have started to take harder lines on sexting, and some have rather ambiguous laws.  In some states, teen sexting isn’t legal, which means that nude photo may mean you’ve broken the law.  In some states, sexting may even be a felony or a sex crime.  Even just possessing a sext can be considered a crime.  Not only is it important to know the laws in your state, but it should make us consider if sexting is really worth it.
  • It can lead to more than you’re ready to handle.  Teens who sext are more likely to engage in premarital sex than those who do not.  That seems like a logical parallel, but consider this:  are you ready, really ready, to have sex?  Is that what God would want for you?  Pre-marital sex comes with its own set of issues, and it goes far beyond sexting.
  • It can affect your reputation.  Before you hit “send,” think about how people would react if that picture or message became public. What would that decision do to your reputation?  As a Christian, you’re supposed to be an example of your relationship with God, so what does that say about being a Christian to others around you?  Christians are expected to live to a higher standard, to be a light unto others, so is that sext really something God would approve of?  And how would that message being made public change how people see you?  It’s important to ask yourself the questions about how you want people to see you before you send that sext.