Tongues are clucking today after a Louisville, Kentucky dad was arrested for allegedly assaulting his daughter after he discovered explicit photos of her on her cell phone. Tate D. Rhodes reportedly slapped his 17-year-old on her face and legs, pulled her hair, dragged her around the house and made her wear a burlap sack, according to Louisville Metro Police. As a result, he was arraigned and ordered not to have contact with his daughter, with bond set at $5K, the local media reported.
While some parents have come out swinging in defense of Rhodes, his particular actions seem totally unacceptable. Still, the case highlights the need for some sort of disciplinary action to be taken in response to teens' sexting. Because it's setting them up for not just potential torture in their own high school social circles, but legal trouble to boot ...
More than 20 states—including California, New York, and New Jersey—have introduced laws recently that are aimed at teens caught sexting. The common theme: Sexually explicit images of kids under 18 is considered child pornography, and in some places, district attorneys can prosecute anyone who's gotten hold of such a picture, from the subject and photographer to the distributors and recipients. In other words, kids found taking and sending the sexts (statistically, girls), and those receiving them (usually boys) could be in serious HOT WATER with the law. That in itself is reason for parents to step up and do whatever it takes to educate kids about the potential consequences of their actions, but intervene and discipline if they have proof of sexting.
And by disciplining, perhaps mom can sit down and talk to her daughter about more productive, less harmful ways to get a boy's attention. Or if worst comes to worst, deny cell phone/Internet privileges. Parents need to talk to their boys, as well, and make it clear that they're just as much to blame if they're soliciting sexts. Doing as much should warrant punishment.
What Rhodes did is absolutely outrageous, totally horrifying. But it's one extreme example of a battle parents are facing all the time, at unprecedented rates now. And yes, it's a battle worth fighting. Just not in the same way this father did.
What have you said to your teens about sexting? What would you do to discipline them if they were caught?
Image via Summer Skyes 11/Flickr