Sexting and the iPhone, A Love Story

Gone are days of Saved By The Bell and Boy Meets World. Millennials came into being on the cusp of new technology. Very few had mobile phones and those who did, had giant monstrosities that nearly required two hands to just hold. Look how far we’ve come now…

Sadly, with the evolution of technology come dramatic shifts in society.  I don’t think anyone was sad to wave goodbye to the 1950’s era, when women were still silent and lived for the checkered apron and a pot roast, but perhaps we should re-adopt a smidge of their conservative mindset.

“Sexting” is a word with a little bit of an open-to-interpretation meaning. It basically refers to texting someone things of sexual nature. This includes, but is not limited to, sexually explicit acts or references, as well as inappropriate pictures of oneself. I don’t mean to be a prude, but this is just ridiculous…and ridiculously common, apparently.

A CBSNews report cited a study by the National Campaign to Support Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy that revealed 20% of teens admitted to participation in sexting. Another report from ABC broke it down further:

“About a third of young adults 20-26 and 20% of teens say they’ve sent or posted naked or semi-naked photos or videos of themselves, mostly to be “fun or flirtatious,” a survey finds. A third of teen boys and 40% of young men say they’ve seen nude or semi-nude images sent to someone else; about a quarter of teen girls and young adult women have. And 39% of teens and 59% of those ages 20-26 say they’ve sent suggestive text messages.”

This came after reports across the country broke of teens being caught with nude images of others and were promptly charged with possessing child pornography, or some other form of legal punishment.

If that’s not bad enough, not only are there legal issues at risk here, consider how many times these private photos intended for your high school sweetheart get shared?! I always think about those teen activist commercials saying something like “There’s a thin line between him and the whole school.” What happened to good ol’ common sense?

If you Google sexting acronyms for parents, you will find some interesting information and of course, a nice bit of sarcasm. Is this all getting blown out of proportion? Shouldn’t this be more of a parenting issue than a let’s-prosecute-minors-for-being-careless issue? I know millennials think of sex differently, but there’s also another issue about to be brought to the light (aside from the dumb decisions made while using a camera phone):

Apple’s latest patent is to protect new anti-sexting technology…sounds like every parent’s dream? What about the millennial professional’s nightmare? According to Gizmodo, the patent is for, “systems, devices, and methods” of filtering “text-based messages” based on “objectionable content.” Also, Gigaom.com’s Apple Blog reports:

“According to the patent, the iPhone could also offer suggestions with which to replace the offending text, or just delete it outright as soon as you’re done typing, so that it never gets sent in the first place. In effect, that means it could actually change what you’re going to say.”

One article also mentioned how a boss could use this technology and be alerted when obscene language was used in out-going content. Does this scream privacy violation to anyone else? It may be different – it is only for work- provided cell phones or work email accounts, but what people use their personal platforms for should be their business.

Now is the time to remind ourselves of the 1950’s mentality of “what happens behind closed doors should stay behind closed doors.” Real doors and virtual ones. We will have to see how Brett Favre’s sexting scandal plays out, because perhaps this is not an issue facing just millennials, but all technology-savvy media users.

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