A couple of days ago I posted a story about a 14 year old girl who had been charged with possession of child pornography because she had some nude photos of herself on her mobile phone.
Then there was story about a group of teenagers in Victoria being cautioned by a magistrate in relation to child pornography, because of nude photos of themselves and their friends on their phones.
There have been a couple of articles warning teenagers and parents about the possible legal and social consequences of teens taking pictures of themselves naked, and sending those pictures to friends or boyfriends.
Parents, counsellors and police officers quoted in those articles have all pretty much nailed the whole negative consequences thing – you may get in trouble with the law in ways that stay with you for the rest of your life, once photos are ‘out there’ you have no control over where they go or who sees them, you may be humiliated to the point you cannot return to your school, etc.
It’s good that teenagers are made aware of those things. It would be even better if they were helped to understand that actions can have consequences which are not easily foreseen, and that rules about sexual behaviour and and respect for self and others exist to protect people from some of those consequences.
What has been missing is the simple statement that some things are wrong. This includes taking nude pictures of yourself and sending them to friends.
So I was pleased to read this article ‘It Is Wrong’ by the Joneses. As well as saying the right things, it is funny and well-written.
These are the concluding paragraphs:
Why is it that today’s culture thinks that 16-year-olds are old enough to understand and deal with sexual relationships on their own? Teenagers can’t even handle friendships in a rational manner. But if the only caution you can give your child is, “Don’t do that because it might get you in trouble later,” then you’re waving the white flag and the battle is over.
I care enough about my children, and my friends’ children, and the beautiful, alienated teenagers I pass in town, to say, “You shouldn’t do this. It’s wrong.” To do less is to hand our children over to those who want them only for their bodies.