Saturday, November 22, 2014

Teenagers Sexting - What Is Your School Doing About It?

Earlier this week a story broke of high school teenagers from Portland, Oregon taking video of other students engaged in sexual activities, then sending them to peers via Internet resources.  These incidents happened both on and off high school property.

One parent of a high school student feels it isn't just a Grant High School problem, but that the problem exists nationally.

As the police stated, not knowing that sharing a sexual photo or video of a friend who is under the age of 18 is no excuse, and will be considered distribution of child pornography which will have significant impact on the life of anyone.

This discovered behavior prompted immediate action by the school principal to encourage all parents to have conversations with their children regarding the seriousness of their behavior.

When I read that the principal sent home a letter to all parents with resources, I thought about all the other principals of high schools throughout the region, state, and nation.  What are they doing?  Are they encouraging parents to talk to their children about these issues?  Are these discussions happening in schools between teachers and students?  What should be the responsibility of the schools in teaching digital citizenship? 

Common Sense Media is a great resource to find talking points and lessons regarding this issue and many more.  In particular there is an entire lesson they host called "Overexposed: Sexting and Relationships".

Here are resources from Netsmartz addressing the issue, Tips to Prevent Teens Sexting for Parents, Tips to Prevent Sexting for Teens, and a video "Your Photo Fate".

I encourage all teachers to talk to students regarding digital safety, and if you happen to use this topic to get you started, excellent.  If this activity happened in Portland, Oregon, can it be happening in your school?


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