It’s a case of social media gone wrong once again. Well, that and good ol’ fashioned horn blowing — so to speak. A 15-year-old student at Portage High School in Indiana was mollywhopped with child porn charges (as well he should) after he blackmailed a classmate for her saxophone.
If she didn’t lend him her instrument, he said, he was going to post naked pictures of her all over MySpace. Seems lil’ piggy was super passionate about his band and his blackmail.
Now y’all might ask yourselves one of two questions, or perhaps even both: why the heck did that boy have her skin flicks on hand to threaten her with in the first place? And would anybody have even seen them if he made good on his promise? I mean, who even goes on MySpace anymore?
He had photos of the girl, who is a freshman, because she sent them to him and several other boys. She sexted the images, she admitted, because she has low self-esteem.
Now, the old-school way to go about it would’ve been to call her a derogatory name, something along the lines of a word that rhymes with ‘rut’ but starts with an ‘s.’ He could’ve sparked a nasty rumor about her or led his male bandmates in an open roast of her right there on the spot. But that’s so circa 1986. Nowadays, anything and everything is fodder for the web, and this young lady can thank her lucky stars that her booty shots were intercepted before they went viral.
But the root of the problem is still her reasoning behind sending the pics in the first place. How devastated should her mother be because her daughter thinks so little, so low, so poor of herself that she would voluntarily try her hand at playing amateur porn star in an effort to attract guys?
Here’s my soapbox moment, and not because I’m looking down on anyone else but because I really hope we can rally together: we’ve got to boost our girls’ self-worth and keep closer eyes on their lives on the Internet. Because you do know it’s a completely different life than the one you’re familiar with? The girl child who goes to field hockey practice and studies for chem tests and asks to go to sleepovers on the weekends? That’s her normal teen side. But there’s a big possibility that she’s doing other things — on Skype, on Facebook, on chat, and obviously on text messaging — that would disappoint, maybe even shock you.
It’s the combustion of growing up under the influences of rapidly advancing technology and rapidly advancing sexuality. It’s everywhere. In song lyrics and TV show story lines and, heck, even video games. Society’s obsession with soft core smut ain’t nothing new, but it is getting bolder, more widely integrated, and more acceptable.
There weren’t too many chicks trying to snap full-body shots of themselves with Polaroid cameras back in the '70s. That would’ve been a bit … awkward. (Not that I was around to know firsthand. I’m an '80s baby, thank ye very much.) And if they did succeed, the flicks only got distributed but so far.
Now the web means anything can go anywhere to as many people who want to see it with the click of the ‘send’ button, and it’ll hang out there in cyberspace until the end of time. It literally becomes never-dying content. Who wants a Google search of their little girl’s name to produce her sports stats, her induction into the National Honor Society, and a string of self-portraits showing off her goodies?
It’s nothing we haven’t heard before. But it doesn’t become real until it’s your daughter’s parts and pieces put all on display for the whole World Wide Web to see and lust over. Low self-esteem has always been the catalyst behind the high school ho’s unsavory behavior, whether she knew that that was the reason herself, whether she would confess it out loud, or whether she even cared. But I know you and I don’t want our children to become that girl, just like this mother didn’t want hers to become a school-wide cell phone sensation.
How do you teach a teen girl to respect her body — and the power of the Internet? How do you teach a teen boy not to fall into the trap, too?
Image via evoo73/Flickr