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Sexting And The Accidental Porn Stars

Written by azhar.

I first learned about sexting while reading an article about a tragic incident that happened to an eighteen-year-old girl known as Jesse Logan. She used to sent nude pictures of herself to her boyfriend using her mobile phone. When the couple broke up, her boyfriend forward her naked photos to his friends (what an irresponsible person he is) who in turn shared them with the others. Jesse's private communication with her boyfriend turned public as her sexually explicit photos quickly spread around her school and beyond. That was the beginning of a period of public humiliation and embarrassment for her; one that eventually ended her life.

She became an accidental porn star and was continuously harassed by the students via virtual social networks such as MySpace and Facebook where abusive remarks were dropped on her profile page. The relentless online torment became known to her family when she finally decided to confide in her mother, Cynthia Logan. Like any other victims of cyber-bullying, Jesse only revealed a small piece of the ordeal she was going through. Her self-esteem had already plummeted and she had lost the trust with the people around her.

Jesse's cheerful life ended gloomily as her mother found her body hanging by the neck from the clothing rod in her closet. The tragic incident has shone light to the dangers and consequences of sexting and the cyber-bullying that comes with it. It further raises questions on how we can prevent the same experience from happening to other teenage girls out there.



Sexting is often described when girls voluntarily snap nude pictures of themselves while performing real or simulated sexual acts and sharing them with the others (usually their boyfriends). I believe sexting is now commonly used as a way for girls to prove their loyalty and trust to their partners. Unfortunately, their private photos are usually exposed by their boyfriends when the relationship fails to last.

This could inevitably lead to the girls becoming accidental porn stars and thus possibly destroying their future. In this new era whereby employers and principals use the Internet to research on the backgrounds of their potential workers and students, one can imagine how the victims will find it difficult to get a job or enrol in a college. Worse, since the photos will most probably remain in the Internet forever, the girls may have to live with their dark reputations for the rest of their lives.

Nonetheless in the short term, what comes directly when the sexting is exposed (to the world beyond the supposedly private communication) is none other than cyber-bullying. The victims will have to face public humiliation as other students start to associate them with the sluttish behaviour and even prostitutes. Since sex sells (and mind you, it sells fast), the victims may even attract unwanted attention from online predators seeking for any form of sexual services from them. All these will eventually kill the victim's self-esteem and they may consider suicide to escape the online harassment. When sexting meets cyber-bullying, the consequences are often deadly.

According to cyberlawyer Parry Aftab, about 20% of the teenage girls polled by Wiredsafety.org said they had taken a nude or sexually explicit cell phone picture or web cam shot of themselves and shared it with others (who are mostly their boyfriends). 14% of the boys share these 'private' images with others when they break up with their girlfriends. And 44% of the boys polled admitted to have seen at least one of these sexual images of a classmate.

The numbers are alarming and most importantly it clearly shows the pervasiveness of the sexting phenomenon among our teenagers. Although there are laws to protect them, once the damage is done, it could leave a black mark in the victims lives forever.

That said, I believe the best way to handle sexting and prevent innocent young girls from becoming accidental porn stars is to effectively educate teenagers regarding the risks and dangers that comes with it. I am suggesting we set up a Facebook and MySpace group whereby users can be informed of the issue. Instead of blaming those online social networking websites, why not we fully utilize them to fight for our causes.

What do you think?

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5 comments:

concerned said...
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hi there.

i think that is a gd idea. frm there, we can also set up a voluntary group to inform wiredsafety or any local institutions if we come across any cyberbullying activities online.

Anonymous said...
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Why are parents giving phones with the camera/video functions to their young daughters in the 1st place?!!!

Anelly said...
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I know a similar case. But i think that is not entirely the fault of the guy spreading the photos to friends but is also the fault of the girl sending naked photos of her to his boyfriend. Come on, what is in her mind?

azhar said...
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Thank you for your comments.

@concerned: Your idea sounds like a patrol team for social networking websites etc. Having parents to volunteer for that can help.

@anonymous: I guess the parent want her daughter to have what other kids have. Nonetheless, the parents should have been more stricter and not agree to their daughters' materialistic wants.

@Anelly: True, it is also the girl's fault for sharing her nude photos. What is in her mind, you ask? LOVE.

calai said...
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Sun's CEO Scott McNealy once said that "You have zero privacy anyway, get over it"

With the Internet, it is not only a matter of privacy but a matter of "eternal memory". What you posted or said online will be there in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years and most likely forever...

It makes it almost impossible to "start over" as one used to be able to do and what you did or said in your teens will follow you well into your twilight years...

Given the new paradigm, definitely, educate your young but also understand that this is a brand new world.

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