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Letter: Newtown Sexting Case Scary But Worth Understanding

Ivonne Zucco
Ivonne Zucco Photo Credit: Contributed

NEWTOWN, Conn. -- The Newtown Daily Voice accepts signed and original letters to the editor up to 350 words. To submit your letter, email newtown@dailyvoice.com .

To the editor:

On Jan. 27, news was released about an alarming sexting case at Newtown High School . The story talks about how, in May last year, more than 20 students were involved in the distribution of nude and sexually explicit photographs of classmates and three of those students have been charged with child pornography as a consequence of possessing and selling those pictures.

Sexting has added another layer to the complexity of the teenage years. Although, sending nude pictures to others seems totally out of the normal boundaries, it is not uncommon. In a study conducted by Drexel University in 2015 on adult sexting behaviors, out the people who answered the survey, 88 percent had sexted. Also, an article named “Why Kids Sext,” published in November 2014 by The Atlantic magazine cites “a recent study of seven public high schools in East Texas found that 28 percent of sophomores and juniors had sent a naked picture of themselves by text or email, and 31 percent has asked someone to send one.”

A possible explanation of why kids sext is that the behavior itself forms part of normal sexual exploration, just like the older generation shared Playboy magazines with their friends, or explored each other bodies in private settings. The difference today, is that when a picture is captured and sent, there is no way to control what happens with it and the legal and psychological consequences for everyone involved can be devastating. What can you do?

  • Understand that as a parent, you are the most important part in this equation. The only effective tools you have to guide your kids through the complicated technology world is good communication and trust. No parental control software can replace that.
  • When talking to your children, more than panicking over the serious legal consequences, focus on the emotional consequences. Explain how this behavior affects real people.
  • If you don’t know how to talk to your child about it, seek help. The Prevention Department at the Center provides presentations in the community that address this issue in detail. Ask your school and community centers to host these programs.

Ivonne Zucco,

Executive director of The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education in Stamford

The Center serves Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, Weston and Wilton.

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