As of late, there have been growing incidences of children sending provocative pictures to each other over the technological airwaves.
Seems that with current technology, and the lack of needed governance to standardize that technology, there are no rules in place and there is no real “consequence” when those rules are broken- except that our children’s lives are ultimately shattered and their innocence is forever broken.
I stick out like a sore thumb in the Insomniac Club because I am the only parent among the group. I am the mother of a 12-year old girl and the very real possibility that this or ANY sexual encounter for that matter could affect her is something I worry about everyday.
Ironically, one of the members of the group recently said, “If I had a 12-year old, I’d take her cell phone away and tell her to go play outside.” I have done precisely that, not because of the threat of sexting but because her grades really stink, thus she doesn’t deserve to have a cell phone.
I’m a reasonable person and I’m a reasonable parent. And I make sure I take damned good care of my child.
However, nowadays sexting is getting all the attention of the media. But why? Why is it such a “problem”?
You’re probably not going to regale in the fact that I’m going to tell you that when I was a child, I went through many of the things that face our youth of today.
Except when I was child, things were FAR WORSE for us than what I see my daughter confounded with.
I wasn’t exactly a saint and neither were any of my peers, and everything my child contemplates, schemes and thinks she’s going to get over on me, I’ve already seen or done. And I constantly remain 110 steps ahead of her because of it.
To give you an idea of what I faced as a teen:
- When I was in 7th grade, one of my peers had an infant child at 11 years old and had another 2 years later at 13.
- That same year I learned one of my best friends had an abortion when she was just 12.
- In 8th grade, two of my close friends were having all out threesomes with the same boy, one of whom ended up having to have an abortion.
- At 15, one of my closest grade school friends was addicted to methamphetamine, and used to carry around a needle, a spoon and syringes in her purse. It was surreal to sit and watch her slam it while we sat on her bedroom floor.
- That same year, I was put in a secondary school for troubled teens where next door, a sister secondary school was in place for teen moms. There was a constant parade of 13-17 year old pregnant girls cycling through the place.
- A former close friend at 15 had gotten pregnant and her mother made her have an abortion when she was near 6 months gestation (she was hiding it from her as long as she could and her mom found out when she started to show).
- That very same friend and I landed in juvenile hall out of state where we’d met dozens of girls who were SEASONED prostitutes living on the streets since the ages of 10 and 11.
- When I was 16, the city I grew up in had the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the United States.
- By the time I was 17, nearly ALL the girls I went to high school with by that time had children. I was among only a few who didn’t.
However, I wasn’t without my vices. I ran away and eventually did so for weeks at a stretch. I was in and out of juvenile hall and youth centers, I did drugs, drank, and got into cars with men I didn’t know (luckily by the grace of God I was never harmed).
I cut school, I hung out with jailed losers, I ended up in group homes in different states, met dozens of lowly people and yes, I had sex. And I was lucky that I didn’t end up like so many other girls I knew personally whose lives were changed for worse, forever.
Why was I getting into so much trouble all the time? BECAUSE I HAD PARENTS WHO DIDN’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT ME. Pure and simple.
I was neglected, ignored, verbally abused and ultimately forgotten. I was alone, scared to death and in need of guidance- GUIDANCE EVERY CHILD NEEDS AND CANNOT THRIVE WITHOUT.
When we care about our kids, when we love them and nurture them and they aren’t in desperate need of attention, they don’t resort to franticism and outright mayhem in order to be noticed.
Whether it’s sexting or getting knocked up.
When I look at my daughter, and I tell her the things I saw, did, and ultimately lived to regret, she looks at me in shock and disbelief. She can’t fathom the fact that I was among peers her age who brought guns to school and accidentally shot themselves, who were members of criminally notorious generational gangs in Los Angeles who dealt drugs, and that I had very good friends her age who already had a couple of children.
I look at my daughter and I can say that I am very proud. She is a girl, doing all the things that girls her age should be doing.
She’s curious about boys, she loves school, she plays basketball, and loves pepperoni pizza. She’s excited about wearing her first bikini, she has a love/hate relationship with Justin Beiber and she adores frozen yogurt and Guitar Hero.
I partake feverishly in all the things that are important to her, and I spend more time with her than she would like but, I PAY CLOSE ATTENTION. I know what she’s doing at all times and because of that, she is safe. I’m a parent and that’s my job. And if she fails, IT’S BECAUSE I’VE FAILED HER. And it’ll be over my dead body that as long as I live I should ever fail her as a parent because I owe her my effing life- THAT’S WHAT A GOOD PARENT GIVES HER CHILD.
Everybody wants to blame and demonize the kids, WHEN THE PARENTS ARE ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR CHILDREN AND EVERYTHING THEY DO.
Every teenage generational gap is perplexed with complex social problems and grave injustices, and our youth is no exception. And I don’t take the sexting phenomenon lightly.
However, this song by 2Pac “Brenda’s Baby” exemplifies what plagued my generation. Where was the media then?
More from The Insomniac Club:
Don’t Talk to Her She’s a Slut by Simone Grant
The Consensus of Flies by Jack from Brooklyn
Enough With the Slut-Shaming Already by MetAnotherFrog
Sexting, Sexting, 1, 2, 3… by Totally Tyler
The Tale of the 13 Year-Old Slut by Confronting Love
Sexting and the Mean Girl v.2.o by Jess Downey
When Teenagers and Sexual Curiosity Collide with Technology by Miss Melissa Mae
Unremarkably, Unregrettably Unknown by How Very Lucky to be a Girl