Texting sex message is also known to teens as sexting. A popular trend since the last few years sexting is a common visible practice seen in most campuses and even classrooms. The term sexting also refers to taking or sending an explicit photo of oneself and forwarding it to friends or potential suitors. The phenomena of sexting is spreading rapidly and a survey by a teenage girls' magazine has found that 40 per cent of respondents had been asked to send sexual images of themselves. Half the bullying-related calls to the police can be attributed to cyber-bullying and sexting ranks high. According to Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association Sexting is being treated as another manifestation of cyberbullying with the Victorian police reporting a rise in cyberbullying activities amongst teenagers including sexting.
Sexting has become more common with the rise in camera phones and smartphones with Internet access. Sexting is bound to increase. Girlfriend magazine survey has found that four in 10 readers had been asked to forward a nude photo of themselves.
Sexting being a recent phenomena, ethics are still being established by both those who engage in it and those who create legislation based on this concept. Australian laws currently view under-18s as being unable to give consent to sexting, even though they meet the legal age for sexual consent. 3G mobile phone technology helps upload image files directly to the internet is making sexting easier.
One of the appeals of sexting is the ability to hide the behavior from parents. But teens don't understand that the message or pictures they send can be forwarded to thousands of unkown recipients. Parents should acknowledge sexting as an aspect of teen relationships and include it in conversations about safety and respect. Parents can help teenagers make responsible choices about sexting.
Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association AMTA continues to widely promote the industrys advice on sexting and cyberbullying noting in particular that the perceived level of anonymity is often central to how young people see sexting and cyberbullying. In reality perpetrators of cyberbullying need to know it is possible for them to be indentified and that their activities may be considered illegal.
Radar, My Mobile Watchdog, is a service that protects children from cyber bullying, sexting, predators, adult content, and other unsafe activities on their cell phone. Radar is designed for children ages 7 to 17. Radar is available online. www.mymobilewatchdog.com for more information.
Bob Lotter, CEO of Radar, My Mobile Watchdog, about the dangers of cell phone use among children: Many times when kids are confronted for bullying another child, they will not own up to it. Even their parents may find the allegations unbelievable. Armed with a record from Radar, one can offer evidence directly to the principle, law enforcement, or the parent for immediate action.
Since the phone is now the primary communication channel for children, Radar is an important tool in the detection and prevention of cyber bullying or sexting. Since children are aware their phones are being monitored, Radar is not in violation of the law. Radar makes copies of all pictures, written text, and email messages and forwards them to the parent in real time. Call records are stamped with the date, time, phone number, and duration.