Social Media has clearly altered the landscape of social interaction – among adults and certainly among students. While there can be positive values associated with social media, there are many inherit risks that are now looming heavy on us, causing parents, teachers and faculty to deal with issues they may not have even thought about a couple of years ago. The consequences of those risks can be monumental; with the internet – they never completely disappear. A simple picture sent as a text to a friend is now part of the internet lifecycle and can affect the student now and possibly for the rest of their life. Many states are now enacting severe penalties related to sexting.
1. A teenager who takes a naked picture of themselves and sends it to another teen, has technically committed three felony crimes and may be charged with promoting, distributing and possessing child pornography and if convicted, could face real jail time.
2. A teen who receives a sexually explicit image (even if it was not requested) can be charged with possession. If they forward the picture to anyone else they are looking at potential distribution charges.
3. If one of the teenagers is 18 years old (17 in some states) they could be considered an adult and if they are in a personal relationship with another teen who is under the age of 18 (17 in some states) there is a much greater risk of strict prosecution as a felon and may require the teenager to register as a sex offender.
So far in 2012, at least 13 states are considering bills or resolutions aimed at “sexting” — the practice of sending sexually explicit or nude or semi-nude photos of children by cell phone.
In addition, two other states in 2012 introduced bills that take a different approach: they aim to allow parents to have access to the content of their minor child’s text messages: Arizona S.B. 1219 and South Carolina’s H.B. 4555.
Since 2009, when NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) began tracking sexting legislation, at least 16 states and Guam have enacted bills to address youth sexting. In addition, the California Assembly passed a resolution in 2010, and Indiana (in 2009) and Rhode Island (in 2010) created study commissions relating to sexting.
CALIFORNIA - A.B. 321
Authorizes the court, if sexually explicit matter was in the possession of a minor, to order the minor to pay a fine not to exceed $ 1,000, and to undergo counseling, with the cost of counseling to be borne by the minor’s parents.
SOUTH CAROLINA - H.B. 3130
Creates the offense of sexting; provides for a civil fine and an educational program for a person who commits the offense, provides for the restriction of a minor’s driving privileges under certain circumstances, provides certain safeguards for minors who commit the offense, and provides for the use of the uniform traffic ticket for the offense and for jurisdiction over the offense in the municipal or magistrates court.
TEXAS – SB 407
Effective September 1, 2011, requires all schools to annually provide training to educate staff and students beginning with the 2012-2013 school year. The programs must address the consequences of sharing prohibited visual material (sexting) and the prevention, identification of, responses to, and reporting of cyberbullying.
BeSafe in CyberSpace - Engaging, Educating and Changing the Way Students and Staff Communicate in a Digital Society
Mark Seguin and BeSafe in CyberSpace has been providing training for over eight years and currently offers online and live presentation training on the topics of Cyberbullying, Sexting, and Social Media. This training provides students and staff with current statistics, real-life consequences and excellent material addressing these issues. Interspersed with humor, our training influences students to change their thinking which results in a change of behavior – which is critical.
Our Training Programs were launched just a few months ago and have already received numerous recommendations, referrals and news media coverage.
BeSafe in CyberSpace Training Series offers the complete solution for schools, organizations and groups. Developed from Mark’s Live Trainings each Training Series is now available online and can be purchased independently or as an entire Series at a significant savings. More information and pricing are available here.
Mark’s expert training includes the topics of Cyberbullying, Sexting, Social Media, Internet Etiquette, current statistics, real-life consequences and much more. BeSafe in CyberSpace training is designed to change thinking which results in a change of behavior. Each Series is geared perfectly for each audience:
- Middle School
- Jr. High School
- High School
We also offer a number of online resources that accompany each Training Series and these can be downloaded with the purchase of any Series. One resource is A Family Guide to CyberSpace which includes topics such as:
- Safer Social Networking
- Smartphone Safety
- Identity Theft
- Learning their Lingo
- Helpful “How To’s”
Another resource is our Rules For Safe and Fun Internet Use which is a great tool for teachers to use with students and parents to use at home.
Also included in our resources are Netiquette for Online Citizens and Family Internet Contract.
Preview Our Trainings.
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