I understand the frustration of adults who see kids doing things like this with no comprehension of the possible outcomes. That New Jersey teen may have intended those nude photos for her boyfriend (disturbing in and of itself), but she didn’t seem to grasp that once those images were out in cyberspace, there would be no controlling where they went.
This is where the debate over who’s really to blame begins to rage. It’s the kids’ fault for being so stupid. It’s the parents’ fault for not raising them with decent values or knowing what their offspring are up to. It’s the media’s fault for producing an endless flood of sexual imagery selling everything from music to breath mints. It’s the youth culture’s fault for normalizing the public sharing of every private thought and act. It’s the computer geniuses’ fault for building an infinite network that has spawned a viral world of unintended consequences.
There may be some truth in all of these. But teens have been known to foil the best intentions of their parents, and the media techno-genies are out of the bottle and not about to go back in.
Surely there is a better way to impress upon kids the importance of exercising common sense than by threatening to make them pariahs for life. “Re-education” classes are probably a good idea, but not under the threat of prosecution, which tends to create a fair amount of resistance.
Read it all. Interestingly, retired South Carolina Bishop Edward Salmon visited the parish which I serve this past Sunday and raised this very (uncomfrotable) subject during his adult Sunday school class–KSH.