IFI has been warning you about the relatively new phenomenon of "sexting" and the fact that some local teenagers have been arrested on child pornography charges. While criminal charges are very serious business, one family's tragedy has resulted in a campaign to bring awareness and pass tougher laws.
An 18-year-old high school senior sent a nude cell phone picture to her boyfriend that was meant for his eyes only, but ended up being viewed by hundreds of teenagers across several neighboring school districts. The student was devastated as she was bombarded with taunts and harsh names through social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook and in person. Last July, Jessie Logan hanged herself in her bedroom, leaving her parents childless.
"My only baby that I will never be able to touch again," Cynthia Logan told the Cincinnati Enquirer in tears. "I will never have grandchildren. I will never be able to hand down my heirlooms. I'm just devastated by these parents that allow their children to do and say anything they want.
Cynthia and her husband Albert are now attempting to launch a national campaign seeking tougher laws to address "sexting," the act of taking and sending nude or semi-nude photos using cell phones.
The couple also wants teenagers to know about the harassment, humiliation and bullying that can occur when the photos are forwarded beyond their intended targets. One in five teen girls say they have electronically sent or posted nude or semi-nude images of themselves online or over cell phones.
"Schools need to understand our kids are targeting each other and how technology is being used as a weapon," said Parry Aftab, one of the leading authorities on Internet safety and cyberbullying working with the Logans. "None of them (the schools) know what to do. Many of them ... think it's not their problem."
Scripture tells us to be careful how we live (Eph. 5:3-7). Furthermore, we are to avoid sexual immorality, including pre-marital sex, and to learn to control our own bodies (1 Thess. 4:3-6).