Sexting is not just a topic in the news anymore, it's a concept that many people are experiencing in every day life. For many North Americans, it has become a way of life. It is an every day familiarity now however, albeit sadly, one that is even wrecking lives. For those parents seeking a solution to keep their teen both safe and sound regardless of whom they are sexting, the Ontario Provincial Police say, there's an app for that according to the Niagara Falls Review Aug. 7.
The most recent example of sexting in the news and wreaking havoc on people's lives is the story of the hot car death of 22-month-old Cooper Harris. While Cooper Harris died in his father's car on June 18 in Cobb County, Georgia, his father Ross Harris was reportedly sexting from his Home Depot office. One of the people he was sexting was allegedly a minor. As previously reported by the Toronto Relationships Examiner, Ross Harris is not alone in his sexting habits, and it may come to light that his sexting even was a felony. It's a problem happening globally, with police forces all over the world seeing more and more cases of felony sexting.
Why is it a felony? It is a felony when nude pictures are being exchanged and distributed among minors, which becomes felony charges that also use the terms "pornography." For fathers and parents all across America, this is alarming. By merely loaning your phone out to your teen, you could be subject to these charges as well.
The Niagara Falls Review is reporting that sexting has become such a problem, that an app has been developed to alleviate some of the problem. The Review cited peer pressure as a common reason why teens succumb to the pressure of sexting. As a result of this peer pressure, Ontario Provincial Police have developed a new mobile app called "Send This Instead."
"Send This Instead" is an app that allows the user to send something other than a nude picture to the person who requests a sexting pic. It is a program and an app launched in July 2014 by the Ontario Provincial Police, and offers responses users can send to those requesters of nude pics that are sarcastic and witty and take the edge off of any sexting peer pressure.
Responses that can be "sent instead" of a nude picture include quips such as,
"I can't send you nude photos, but I'll forward this to my dad and you can try asking him for some."
There is also a response that shows a girl in a stick figure drawing with the note,
"Camera not working, so drew one instead!"
Other responses include,
"Sorry, just in the middle of something…Can I reject you later?"
And, "W-W ENJ-Y JA-L", with the polite suggestion to purchase a vowel.
The app is free for all iPhone and Android phones and was developed by someone that knows the industry of taking advantage of children like the back of his app. Joseph Versace is the programmer working with the Ontario Provincial Police Sexual Exploitation Unit that developed the phone app.
Inspector Scott Naylor with the Ontario Provincial Police and manager of the Sexual Exploitation Unit says the problem of youth sexting has reached epidemic proporations, and the OPP Sexual Exploitation Unit says it is happening with about 1 in 6 kids right now. Insp. Scott Naylor says,
"Until now, anti-sexting campaigns have focused on warning kids about the dangers of sending explicit pictures of themselves, but it isn't working, we need a new strategy."
Naylor also says music videos were made in an effort to help ease the burden of this epidemic.
Sexting is dangerous between grownups, especially when it is outside the confines of a committed relationship. You never really do know who you are sexting, unless you know who you are sexting.
When sexting occurs between teens, they simply do not have the cognitive and emotional skills to say no, as easily as grownups do. Now the Ontario Provincial Police say, there's an app for that.
How do you handle sexting requests that make you uncomfortable? Are you a sexter? Are you a parent with a teen? What do you think about this app?