Sexting: Senseless Lack of Self-Respect


In a nationwide survey, forty-three percent of teenagers claimed to have partaken in the act of “sexting” (Steinburg). Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between mobile phones (Edmond). Are you part of the forty-three percent sending out nude photos? Teenagers are warned that the outcomes of sexting are incredibly dangerous, but most still make the decision of sending out provocative pictures. In the eyes of some, sexting is a harmless act, but in the eyes of others, it is a controversial mess. A middle school student, Hope Witsell, killed herself after an image o her, naked, was passed around her entire school. It is estimated that every hour and forty-five minutes a teen commits suicide; don’t let this be you and don’t let yourself be the cause of a tragedy like that.

In a society that looks down upon sexual imagery and promiscuous behavior among teens, it is important to teach young people, like us, that sexting has the power to haunt us forever. As teenagers we have experienced the stress and pressures of high school, but avoiding sticky situations like Hope Witsell’s is easy.

Teens are now taking action in the new, controversial subject that comes hand-in-hand with high school- sexting. The subject  of “sex” surrounds us all, especially in the media, “Have you been reading these teen magazines lately?…’How many ways can you turn your boyfriend on? How sexy can you kiss?’” Many of the influences that are in the media are listened to by many students trying to “fit in.” In recent years, studies have shown that not only does media have an influence, but that “51% of teen girls say pressure from a male is a factor, compared with 18% of boys who blame the opposite sex” (Shellenbargar). Even though 75% of teens who engage in sexting say it can have “serious negative consequences,” they continue to do it anyways because it can be used as a way to attract attention or to “have fun.”

Girls, guys can absolutely be dogs, but maybe they would start to change if girls started to appreciate themselves more. It is hard to have a guy look at you for who you are, and not for what you look like. Girls are always conscious of the way that they are treated, but in reviewing current female behavior, they need to respect themselves in order to gain respect. It cannot be denied that everyone wants respect, yet girls are taking their clothes off and capturing pictures of themselves naked. Even girls that are “proud” to show off their bodies, and feel they have the curves to show off, don’t recognize the sacredness of their own body. One day this problem can be resolved when women respect themselves and show there is more to them than a naked body.

Teens probably wonder why it matters so much if someone receives, or sends, a naked picture of another person, and although the first amendment protects citizens’ freedom of speech, there are some brutal consequences. Hope Witsell is an example of a girl who couldn’t handle the stress of the aftermath of sexting, and so she decided to kill herself.

After sending a naked picture of yourself to someone, you will be tagged forever as a “slut.” You can walk around the halls of Leyden and think to yourself that you’ll always be known as the person who sent a nude picture to a guy that probably doesn’t even like you. As a girl in high school myself, I know that girls who have sex at this age are “easy.” Both sexting and sex at a young age are examples of things that can put all people involved into a bad situation. Let’s imagine that you send a nude to your boyfriend or girlfriend and a couple days later you break up. After the break up, the picture gets sent around. What will the consequences be? Unfortunately, you’ll have to find out for yourself, but you can prevent this from happening.

Most teens don’t recognize that sexting can lead to felony charges, and being legally labeled as a sex offender. Someone that is embarrassing or harassing a student by forwarding private images should be penalized, and held responsible for their actions. These personal and  pictures that may be funny to one teen can destroy another teen’s life.

Let’s face it; there are always going to be people who tell you not to do things because of how they feel about a certain topic, and in this case it’s sexting. It is your choice whether you believe to listen to these voices or not; only you can decide the right path for yourself.  Taking your clothes off, posing nude in a picture just to satisfy the thirst of someone else, is not a a question of right or wrong, but of responsible or reckless. Teens must learn to gain respect by being responsible, not by being reckless.