April 20, 2010

Maryland Sexting Case Calls for Police, and Societal, Examination

Police investigators in Bethesda, Maryland are currently looking into a widespread sexting scandal at a local middle school, and, as the Washington Post reports, say they've traced it back to one entrepreneurial student. According to the Montgomery County Police, a student at Pyle Middle School was recently caught passing around his iPod touch to all his friends, and charging them for the chance to look at provocative photos of female classmates stored on the device.

Although it's unclear exactly how much money was exchanged in the operation, it is clear that the student had somehow managed to collect a pretty massive collection of salacious photos. The anonymous photographer apparently convinced a lot of girls to voluntarily pose for the photos off school grounds, and outside of school hours. He then passed them around to all his friends for at least a few months, investigators say.

Melinda Henneberger, whose children attend Pyle Middle School, wrote a circumspect article in Politics Daily, in which she both defends the school's record and its student body. ("I'm not sure this is as much about exhibitionism as about access to technology our kids are just not ready for.") At the same time, she made sure to commend Principal Michael Zarchin's decision to involve the police in the investigation. Perhaps the most chillingly insightful part of her analysis, though, is her discussion of the long-term effects of sexting, and the potential victims that are so often left out of our dialogue. She asks: "Will the sexting generation be too worried about what might or might not be out there on the Internet to run for office? No matter how common this sort of self-inflicted humiliation becomes, this is young women we're talking about, and I'm sorry to say I have a hard time envisioning the day that voters won't care."

It seems too often that any dialogue about sexting reverts to the same ideological or moralistic discussions, without so much as a mention of who might actually bear the brunt of the behavior. Instead of talking about the people in the photos, we focus primarily on how or why it was taken. It may simply be a case of hormonal teens colliding with new technology; but that doesn't mean that it's benign. [From: The Washington Post, via: PoliticsDaily] SOURCE: Switched

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