MyCentralNJ.com has a story this morning about how the Bridgewater-Raritan School District in Central New Jersey is dealing with a student sexting problem in a similar fashion to what the Bernards NJ School District did (successfully!) earlier this month.
Rather than calling out a specific school, Superintendent of Schools Cheryl Dyer said in a letter to parents that students have until Thursday to delete all evidence of inappropriate photos from their phones. The warning goes out to students district-wide.
“Dyer said has instructed principals to impose a minimum five-day suspension on any student who possesses the sexual or images creates or distributes the images after Wednesday. Students also face the possibility of losing the right to participate in end-of-school activities such as trips, prom and possibly graduation ceremonies, Dyer said.
While the district has been in contact with the police, as was the case of the Bernards situation, we applaud Bridgewater for giving schools and parents a chance to resolve the issue before the police contemplate pressing charges.
There is something interesting happening here. Before these two incidents, most teen sexting cases have come to light because private photos got posted publicly somewhere, often Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Twitter allows explicit content, but Facebook and Instagram are known to act quickly in removing inappropriate content. Before they do, though, it tends to spread very quickly, especially at a middle or high school. That’s not what appears to be happening here. It looks as though someone reported the problem before it had the chance to become a much bigger problem.
Are we getting better at monitoring and self-reporting? If so, that’s great.
If your teen has a smartphone, it’s never too early to start talking about the risks of sexting. From predator risk to sextortion to the possibility of grave embarrassment, school suspensions and child porn charges, sexting is never something a teen should take lightly.
A lot of teens have an, “It won’t happen to me” attitude. Unfortunately, it does.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.