SOLUTION: Is Teen Sexting Cause for Concern or No Big Deal Staying Safe Online Discussion

Online Discussion Boards
Students will participate in two online discussion boards (week 4 and week 7) throughout the
quarter. Each discussion board assignment is worth 10% of your grade (20% of your total grade
combined) and consists of two online posts worth 20 points each (40 total per discussion forum).
The requirements are as follows: Students must include:
(1) One post that responds to the question posed by the instructor. This post must be made by
Wednesday at 11:59 pm (Pacific Standard Time) during the module’s week.
a. Original post needs to be a minimum of 250 words.
(2) One post that responds (with a thoughtful comment) to a classmate’s post. The response
post must be made by Friday at 11:59 pm (Pacific Standard Time) during that module’s
week.
a. Response post needs to be a minimum of 150 words.
Each day a post is late you will lose 3 points. No posts will be accepted 3 days past their original
due date.
GRADING RUBRIC
Your original post and response will be worth 20 points each, for a total of 40 points per Module.
To earn 20 points your posts must:
• Answer every part of the question
• Demonstrate that you understand the class material, including the main arguments
• Reference specific material from the reading and, if relevant, the lectures
• Demonstrate critical thinking
• Back up claims with evidence and/or fully explain the logic behind the argument(s)
Response
• Engage with specific points made by the original poster
• Demonstrate critical thinking
• Demonstrate knowledge of class material
Other Tips
1. Please proofread your responses. While you are mainly being graded on the substance of
your arguments, you may lose points if the writing makes it hard for me to understand
your arguments.
2. Explain/back up your arguments- ask yourself how you would respond if someone asked
you why you were making that statement.
3. For questions that ask your opinion, there is no right or wrong answer. What matters is
how well you support your position.
4. The goal is to demonstrate that you read and understood the class material. The more you
bring in specifics from the lectures/readings, the stronger your answers will be.
SAMPLE POSTS
In “Counted Out: Same-Sex Relations and America’s Definition of a Family,” the authors
identify three broad classes for defining a family: exclusionists, moderates, and inclusionists.
Which do you identify with and why?
Original Post
I identify most with the moderate position, which sees a family as having a legal bond (marriage)
or children. In my view, the exclusionist position is too restrictive. They privilege the traditional
heterosexual family, especially those married with kids. My biggest problem with the
exclusionist position is that it excludes same-sex couples, even those with kids. After the
Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in all states, this position seems out of
date and not in step with the current political climate. Even without the Supreme Court ruling, I
would agree with the moderate position that same-sex parents with kids should be considered a
family. Psychologically, it can be very harmful for kids for society to exclude them from being
considered a family. It also matters legally. As the lecture points out, the definition of a family
impacts issues such as who gets health benefits, who can made medical decisions, and who has
rights and responsibilities for children. It’s important to be more inclusive so that more people
have benefits. Moreover, as the authors point out, expanding the definition of a family can help
get support for more egalitarian family policies that will help more people. However, I wouldn’t
go so far as to be an inclusionist because it is too broad, and can include people without a really
strong commitment, such as cohabiting couples. Given how easy it is for them to separate, they
don’t show the same depth of commitment for a family as those that have children or are legally
married.
Response
I think you made a good point about the psychological part of being considered a family. I agree
that it can be harmful if society is denying your family the status as a family. However, that
makes me lean more toward the inclusionist perspective. The moderate position is still making a
judgment that doesn’t fully take into account people’s own feelings about being part of the
family. Also, being married or having children doesn’t necessarily mean they are more
committed. A downside here is that, as you mentioned, definitions have legal effects, so people’s
feelings can’t be the only determination. We do need some criteria. Finally, you mentioned that
same-sex marriage is legal everywhere. The article showed that acceptance of same-sex couples
increased from 2003-2006, following several states legalizing same-sex marriage. I wonder if the
support for same-sex families has increased after the Supreme Court ruling.
Is teen sexting cause for concern, or no big deal? How to help kids stay
safe online.
The Washington Post
By Kristi Pahr
July 19, 2019
Many parents dread the day their kids get their first phone. Yes, devices are a vital and necessary
link for social groups and school. But smartphones also open new worlds for preteens and teens,
exposing them to territory that may make parents uncomfortable. The technology can leave kids
vulnerable to bullying, harassment and other dangerous situations they might not otherwise
experience. That includes sexting.
One New York mother learned firsthand the potentially devastating ramifications of teen phone
use when she found out her 13-year-old daughter had been exchanging sexually explicit texts
with a new boyfriend.
“We are very open and frank about sex in our house and have been very frank about sexting and
the repercussions,” said the girl’s mother, who asked to have her name withheld to protect her
daughter’s privacy.
“She even specifically said to me that she’d told him up front that she would never send him a
nude photo,” the mom added. But about a week after her daughter started dating the boy, she
came home very upset.
“Apparently, the two of them had been talking dirty to one another via text, and some girls in
their class had read the texts on his phone and were making fun of her,” the mom said. “She was
both really hurt that he allowed them to see those texts and mortified that they’d been seen.”
Sexting, in the form of shared photographs or explicit text messages, is becoming a fairly
common experience for teens and preteens. Research shows that 14.8 percent of kids ages 12-17
have sent explicit text messages while 24.8 percent have received them.
There are conflicting opinions, however, on what that means for kids, including the impact, both
long and short term, on their mental health, and whether the risks involved are as serious as
they’ve been portrayed. That leaves parents wondering: Should they try to actively restrict
sexting, or accept it, when it’s done consensually, as a normal part of growing up and becoming
sexually active?
Jeff Temple, a researcher at the University of Texas Medical Branch, recently published a
commentary in the Lancet Child Adolescent Health arguing that sexting between teens is a
normal and expected exploration of sexuality. He writes that as long as it’s done consensually, it
can be a part of a healthy sexual relationship. But other experts caution that it’s not so simple.
Teens may understand the difference between sending or receiving explicit texts consensually
and nonconsensually, but some experts argue that actual consent, especially within the nuanced
confines of teenage digital interaction, may be more difficult to understand. Catherine Jackson, a
Chicago-based licensed clinical psychologist and neurotherapist, explains that the brain does not
fully develop until a person is in their 20s and that because of this, teenagers may not understand
the implications of consent.
“Teens are capable of making logical, sound decisions for things they feel readily equipped for
and that pose little to no pressure,” Jackson said via email. Not riding with someone who’s been
drinking, or not drinking themselves, not cheating in school, avoiding physically dangerous
situations, and similar choices teens make daily show us they are capable of using sound logic
and judgment. “However, when they are unsure of what to do, are in a new situation, do not
know how to handle an experience, there is peer pressure, or they have little time to think things
through, teens are much more likely to act impulsively and make poorer decisions.”
When faced with the new and exciting prospect of sexual communication, teens may not be
capable of understanding all aspects of the situation, including potential for later harassment,
legal ramifications, or the effect it can have on friendships or social standing within their peer
group. And though consent may be given, it is, by nature of the not-fully-developed adolescent
brain, not informed consent.
“When teens are faced with peer pressure or are involved in intense emotional situations, they
are more likely to choose short-term rewards without considering long-term consequences,”
Jackson said in her email. “Therefore, they may not realize if they consent to sending nude or
sexually suggestive pictures to their partner now that the pictures may be shared with others or
resurface on the Internet later or after a breakup.”
There are also legal ramifications to consider. Anyone who sends or possesses explicit photos of
minors risks criminal charges of child pornography and could potentially be required to register
as a sex offender, even if those pictures were sent and received consensually. Inclusion on the
sex-offender registry is lifelong and may need to be disclosed on college and job applications.
And a teen may consent to sending her boyfriend nude photos but what happens if that
relationship ends? The photos or explicit messages might be seen by others or used as revenge.
Inadvertent sharing is another risk. One teen using another’s phone could see photos that were
not meant to be shared. The result can be catastrophic, and even though there was consent
involved in the initial exchange, bullying and harassment can occur.
How parents can approach it
Jackson advocates having a frank, open conversation with teens and tweens about this. The
conversation around sexting, like the conversation around sex, is multifaceted. Here are her
suggestions for some talking points to include in the discussion.

Make sure your child knows messages and pictures they send online or via cellphone are
not private or anonymous. They should know anyone can and often will share their
pictures or messages, by forwarding them or taking a screen shot and posting it on social






media. Once a picture or message is sent, your child has no control over what happens to
it, who sees it or where it goes.
Talk about what your child thinks their partner will do with pictures in the event of a
breakup.
Discuss the consequences with your child, both legal and emotional, of sending and
receiving inappropriate messages and images. Instruct your child to immediately delete
any inappropriate or explicit images they receive, and make clear that just having them
can lead to consequences.
Tell your child to never distribute inappropriate or explicit messages or images. Ask your
child how they’d feel if something they sent was passed around. Encourage them to treat
others how they’d want to be treated. Ask your child to make a rule to reject others’
requests to send them inappropriate or explicit images, even if they trust the person. The
potential consequences are simply too great to risk.
Encourage your child to block or delete people who pressure them or make them feel
uncomfortable around these decisions. And tell them that if they receive or see an
inappropriate or explicit message or picture of someone, they should make that person
aware of what is being sent around.
Ask them to make a personal rule to only send pictures with all of their private parts fully
covered. Tell them not to pose for others, or photograph themselves, while doing
suggestive acts. A rule of thumb is if they can’t send a photo to their grandmother, then
it’s not a picture they should take or send.
Tell them to enlist the help of an adult if they feel too much pressure to do anything
they’re uncomfortable with, or they are unsure of what to do.
According to the New York mother, her daughter’s sexting experience opened the door for
another in-depth talk on the ramifications of sexting, so they were able to turn it into a teaching
moment.
“It prompted yet another discussion about what should and should not be shared via cellphone, as
well as talking about sexuality in general and what she was and was not ready for,” the mom
said. “It actually helped cement why sending a photo is so dangerous because while some words
were embarrassing, she said she realized just how bad it would have been if it had been a photo.”

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