The Short of It
Twenty middle and high school boys in New Jersey are charged with invasion of privacy for passing around naked pictures of female students as part of a "trading card" game.
In April, a female student at the New Jersey school told officials that boys were passing around a nude photo of one of her friends. The police launched an investigation and discovered 20 male students in the middle and high school were playing a "trading card" game, swapping naked photos of female students. One parent alleges at least some of the girls knew the nude photos they were sexting were being shared by the boys participating in the game.
None of the teens have been arrested yet, but the local news reports that their parents have retained attorneys and are cooperating with authorities. If convicted of invasion of privacy, the 19 juveniles could be sent to training school for up to two years, while the one 18-year-old student, who would be charged as an adult, could face three to five years in prison. One boy's mother, who spoke to 6ABC on the condition of anonymity, thinks the girls should also be charged in the incident.
"The girls know that the boys trade them, and it's kind of a game that the girls want to be involved in," the mother said. "They need to step back and really take a full look at this. The girls are just as responsible as the boys."
At this point in their development, teens are understandably interested in exploring their own sexuality and fascinated by the opposite sex, but this new digital world full of social media games has opened up unexpected avenues for reckless behavior. Whether the girls whose photos were used in this trading card game were willing participants or not, the boys' actions were wrong.
As parents, we need to talk with our kids, both boys and girls, about respecting their own bodies and those of their peers, and the potential ramifications of sexting. We need to teach our kids to think before they post private information or photos online or press "send" to share private content in a text. Those digital messages have a way of spreading to unintended audiences, opening our kids up to embarassment, bullying, objectification or legal consequences.
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