Victim of Cyberbullying Commits Suicide
Don't Think Sexting Is Dangerous? Read This
by Claire Miller, age 17 and Adaeze Okoli, age 16
Breakthroughs in technology allow all of us to be more connected today than ever. People can transfer songs, games, messages and pictures from cell phone to cell phone. However, with all the capabilities that technology offers, it is very easy for private things to be made public.
Last year Jessica Logan, a teenager from Cincinnati, Ohio was the object of ridicule and taunts among her peers after her boyfriend sent a nude picture of her to people at several different high schools. Her father Bert Logan said, “Everyone knew about the photo and she could not live it down.”
The ridicule soon became too much and Jessica Logan committed suicide. Jessica Logan was a victim of cyberbullying.
Dr. Parry Aftab, a long time advocate for Internet and technology safety and an Internet privacy and security lawyer, defines cyberbullying as, “when a young person uses interactive technology as a weapon to hurt another.”
There are many ways for young people to use technology to hurt one another. Unfortunately, because it is so easy to send a message or write on someone’s Facebook wall, kids can do it without really thinking about their actions. When you’re not thinking about your actions, it’s easy to do something you’ll regret.
Sexting, the act of sending sexually explicit nude or semi-nude photos via text message, is a fairly common form of cyberbullying. It starts with a photo. Innocent as it may seem, something as simple as a photo sent to one person can have catastrophic effects.
Aftab explains, “It could be in a million places, and you never know who got a copy.”
What the approximate 20 percent of teenagers who admit to sexting probably don’t know is that sending nude or partially nude photos is a serious felony.
“If you take a picture, you can be accused of producing child pornography; if you send it to somebody, you can be accused of distributing child pornography; and if you keep a picture, you can be accused of possessing child pornography,” says Aftab.
Any of these charges could land a person in prison or label him or her as a sex offender.
There are countless cases of vengeful or bitter exes that have used sexting as a way to get back at old girlfriends.
Last year, 18-year old Phillip Alpert sent out a ‘mass sext’ of his under-aged girlfriend after they had an argument. This led to his arrest on child pornography charges, and later, his registration as a sex offender. Alpert made a public apology saying he was “extremely sorry for what [he] did.” Unfortunately for him, no amount of apologies can make up for what he did. Alpert will still have to suffer the consequences as a registered sex offender until he’s 43.
The consequences of cyberbullying and sexting usually lead to undesired results. However, all this can be avoided by remembering to think before you act.
[Sources: www.cbsnews.com; www.mtvnews.com; www.cnn.com; wwww.msnbc.msn.com]