Thursday, February 4, 2010

Think Before You "Send"

As technology advances and makes communicating so much easier, it also brings with it problems.  Teens are not realizing the impact a "simple" text can have.  One of the newest issues we are facing right now is "sexting".  Sexting is when one person shares sexually explicit text messages or photos or videos (of yourself or others) using a cell phone or the internet.  To teens, it may sound fun and harmless but it can cause serious problems.

Sexting is unsafe!  Once you post or send a "sext" you can no longer control it.  And information you post online can last forever!  It may be copied or re-posted or viewed for years to come. 

Sexting can:
* Change people's opinion of you. 
           You may end up with an unwanted reputation.  Or someone may expect more from you (sexually).
* Cause bullying. 
            A sext that gets into the wrong hands can clearly be embarrassing.  it can also lead to bullying, in person or online.
* Hurt your future.
            Schools and employers often search online for information about applicants.  A sext you thought was long gone could still be on the internet and cost you a big opportunity.
* Get you in serious trouble.
             For example, students caught sexting may be suspended or expelled, or have notes added tot heir school records.  Some have even faced serious legal charges.
* Attract sexual predators
             Think sexting someone you only know online is safe?  Not so!  With just a few details from your online profile, a predator may be able to find you in person.

Think before you share any messages or images!  Ask yourself: Would I want this posted on my school bulletin board?  Would I want my parents, teachers or coach to see this?  Or a future college or employer?  Would I feel comfortable saying or showing this in public or in person?

If you get a sext message from someone, don't respond!  And don't pass it on!  Tell a trusted adult (a teacher, parent, school counselor or coach) and they will help you.

And always remember... Think before you send!!!