MSNBC reports on sexting

I’m not sure passing laws and focusing on education will change anything. It’s not a major deterrent to stopping drug usage, so why should it stop kids from sexting? The solution definitely has to go back to having parents who are actually in touch with their kids lives and who are teaching them openly, honestly and biblically about sexuality from a younger age. Otherwise, what’s next? Safe-sexting?

This MSNBC news video is worth watching.

[ht Inetta Smith via email]

Posted on April 20, 2009

  • Agreed! Where the heck are parents these days?! Do parents really just not care (which I find so hard to believe), are they too self-absorbed, or are they just this blind to what is going on (how can they be in the world in which they live (they've got to see this going on)? I grow more and more perplexed with parents every day as I watch this kind of stuff happening, as I watch parents put everything in the world in a place of higher priority than discipling their children to be followers of Christ. Just perplexed…which leaves me with just one thing to do every day – fall on my knees before God and pray for my students, their parents, and for my own children as we disciple them.

  • jamie

    Hey guys, I have a question.

    So how can there be a sort of accountability in the whole cell phone/texting/sexting stuff? Texting is such a private thing. How would answer a parent saying that they want to check in and make there kids aren't getting in trouble. What would you tell them? How can their be accountability with youth group leaders on how far the texting conversation goes when there isn't an easy way to track it that i'm aware of.

    Maybe I'm missing something or maybe this isn't an issue.

    P.S. I know the major issue is the parent's relationship with there kid….but this is a question I've been asked.

  • Our job as youth workers is to make parents aware of what is going on in teen culture. I hadn't heard of sexting until recently at NYMC. When we hear about these things for the first time we need to make parents aware as well. I just spent time sending out that MSNBC coverage to all the parents of teens I have on facebook to spread the awareness. Picture messaging is an option on every cell phone, just like text messages, it can be blocked to where you can't even receive them.
    Would it really be so bad for a parent to let their child know that they are going to hold their child accountable and wants to know what they're doing on their cell phone? They should already be keeping track of what they're looking for online. It will be harder to keep track of with a cell phone, but I don't think impossible.
    What teen is going to come to their parent if they're sent a sext message? I know if I got one as a teen (if I had a cell at the time) I would rather delete it and not let my parents know for fear that I'd get in trouble even if I didn't ask for it. If parents aren't going to find out about teen culture from their teens, we need to educate them.

  • Totally agree. It starts with the parents. Now "safe-sexting"… that is funny!

  • I enjoy "Pexting"…sending naked pictures of my pets. Nothing tickles the funny bone like a picture of a naked, hairless guinea pig!

    Seriously though, this has little to do with self-esteem and much to do with how we have devalued sex and no longer view our bodies as a gift from God.

    Just my $.02.

    • I'm inclined to agree with you, Brian. A lot of high school kids have never even heard that sex is something you save for marriage. They look at ya like, "What? That is so weird. Why would you ever do that?" It's not because they're bad people, they just have never heard the alternative, a biblical perspective on sex. In that case, education is helpful, but it needs to come from parents who talk about it with the kids at a young age.

  • I taught on sex a few weeks ago and dealt with sexting. It was eye-opening for most of the students…at least that's what they told me. Many young girls send a pic thinking they can trust the 15-year-old boy on the other end to keep it private. I told them that young boys (and old ones too) cannot be trusted with something so valuable – it's like giving a million dollars to a thief and asking him not to take it. Five seconds after receiving the pic, they've already forwarded it to 10 friends. The boys laughed because they knew it was true. Some of the girls cried because they have already hit the "send" button and have felt the consequences.

  • Zack

    Hi there,

    I am not part of this Student Ministry website, nor am I even a member of the Christian faith; atheist here. I am a 17 year old studying to become an anthropologist and my favorite way to observe different social cultures and behaviors is to read sites like this on the internet. Its very educationally stimulating for me.

    Anyway, I thought I would drop in on this topic, as a high school student, I can confirm that clearly our youth's obsession with sex is absurd. My generation is *obsessed* with it, no one disagrees. So how do we fix it? First, we need to figure out where the problem stems from. We do this by applying a scientific analytical method to the situation.

    When we compare the United States to other developed countries, we tend to be the most obsessed with sex, the most sexually abusive, and the least mature about it. Why is this? If we compare the cultures of the United States to other developed countries, we tend to be the most conservative, most religious, most hostile toward sexual themes, and our culture in general views sex as a negative or dirty thing. Essentially, sex has become a taboo in the United States.

    Think Adam and Eve, God told them not to eat the apple, so what did they do? If our culture keeps obsessing over things like sex, our culture's youth will obsess about it too. So I don't think giving "Sexting" the common response of "We need to show the youth Jesus" is really the best, most rational, and most successful answer. Unlike the overwhelming majority of my peers, in my family, we were never religious and never obsessively preached against sex, masturbaton, porn, etc. Turns out, I (the atheist kid) see my "Christian" peers as the sex obsessed perverts. If we followed other cultures' examples and treated sex properly–not like a secret for "grown-ups only", we might actually eventually end this sex obsession. Everyone has heard the religious "don't do it" message, it is nothing *new*. We've been doing it before and it hasn't worked. We need to end the immaturity America as a culture has about sex. We do this buy not getting so worked up about it and *obsessing* about not doing it.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Zack! Saying that we have a problem with someone because we restrict it doesn't quite make sense to me, though. Would teens be less obsessed with drugs if it was legal? Would bullying and cyber-bullying stop if we let kids go? Would crime drop if it were legal? Would kids care less about sex if we just let it run rampant?

      From my perspective, scripture teaching clearly about sex and mankind's natural propensity is to rebel and reject the things of God, because we are sinners by nature. In fact, if left on our own, we'd default to self-destruct mode. That's why we have laws, rules and systems in place, both personally and from our government, as well as spiritually from our God. Of course, you and I may disagree on that, but I believe that sexuality in our country has become so idolized because we continue to abandon God's ways more and more.

      The standard for me is not what other countries are doing — it's what God said we should do, because He created sex and life and knows how the two of them work best together. His plan for sex is to bless us, not to take away our self-destructive "fun." Sex is definitely not wrong or bad. God created sex! He just created it to be within the context of a man and woman who are bound together in the covenant of marriage. We could get into all the reasons why that is, but it's a bit outside the scope of this post. Google around for something like, "Why God created sex for marriage" or something like that if you're interested to read more.

      • Zack

        Thanks for your reply Tim,

        The problem is that we restrict information, we just make sex more of a mystery. Its human nature to have sexual desires, you can't restrict that. Comparing sexual disires to drugs, crime, etc is absurd. A minority does not have sexual desires, everyone does. The problem is that we deal with this by making it a mystery. When we restrict knowledge, we get bad results. High STD rates, high teenage pregancy rates, high abortion rates, high rape and other sexual abuse rates, etc, etc. Again, I refer to the Adam and Eve story.

        Tim, your claim that sexual tendancy is correlated to our society's "abandoning God" is not supported by any rational basis or substance. Its simply what you want to believe. Its interesting that the "Bible Belt" of the United States has the most porn shops per capita, and any statistic will show you that the United States and other religious third world countries have the highest rates of sexual abuse, sexual misuse, sexual crime, etc. The least religious countries, France for instance, has the lowest rates of these yet have topless beaches everywhere. Why? First of all, their culture treats sex as an art, not a sin or "impure." Secondly, they do not keep sex as some sort of mysterious tendancy for married adults. I am not saying we open topless beaches, I am just saying to *educate* kids, not restrict them from education and call it restricting them from sex.

        As Americans, we need to plan. We have not planned. We have only planned for sexual tendancies of married adults, and somehow continue to assume that kids will all get married and that they will just hold their curiousity till then. Look at the Palin daughter, Brittney Spears, Jamie Lynn Spears, etc, etc. In an ideal world, kids would wait, but this is not an ideal world. Reality bites.

        If you refuse to see how others successfully deal with a problem, which you also admit is prevalent in American society, I cannot say you're very intellectual. Learning and having an inquiring mind should be something you should never give up on, religious or not.

        Also, I clearly understand the fundamentalist approach to sex and marriage. I also clearly understand that not all Christians agree its the rational way to deal with this problem. And, by looking at the current facts and evidence and history of supernatural vs natural claims, I do not see a valid reason to believe in a god or gods so what you believe a supernatural character wants is not very relevant to me with all due respect.

        Enjoy your Sunday,


    • Zack, it's great that you're broadening your perspective by reading blogs like this.

      That said, I wholeheartedly disagree with your conclusion. The perversion we are currently witnessing is not a result of treating sex as a "secret for grown-ups". It is the oversexulization of a culture. Tell me, how did the "free love" generation wind up? Divorce rates are staggering. Single-parents are everywhere. STDs are rampant. Sexual predators are all over the place.

      The Bible clearly teaches that "everything is permissible, but not everything is profitable". Culture has said, "everything is permissible, and it has no consequences" and that is a bold-faced lie. Sex has consequences, but we have devalued it and turned it into a mere animalistic act devoid of any meaning. Students are taught that their bodies are play-things rather than a gift. As a result, they cheapen that gift by sending pics of themselves to others only to find after the fact that what they are doing has damaging results.

      The immaturity of which you speak is not treating sex as something special and meaningful, but treating it as an urge we cannot control and therefore shouldn't try.

      Additionally, other "developed nations" do not seem to have similar problems because they do not view them as problems. They don't get the same airplay in those nations because it is no big deal. Truthfully, it is a big deal and that attitude has and will have further consequences down the line.

  • A few of the students in our local schools have been expelled because of sexting. It's the real deal! I hope no one is dismissing this trend as unimportant. Our kids are more than vulnerable to this thing. Praying for wisdom amongst our crew. But I too believe that informing our teens of the potential troubles that await them.

  • Kevin C

    Great, so now you are getting the idea in little girl's heads that little boys are theifs. Thats just great, instead of having a mutual society of equality, boys are just theives, and womens bodies are worth millions of dollars. Great job.

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