Social Media provides connections in so many avenues for teenagers today that it’s difficult at times, to keep pace with the apps that students use among one another. We are all familiar with Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat as what we (adults) might consider the primary social media sites of our students. Some of the other sites that students use (but not limited to) are: Tumblr, Kik Messenger, Tinder, Burn Note, Yik Yak, ooVoo, Pheed, WhatApp, Vine, Skout and Whisper. Whew! That’s a lot of sites!
A growing concern in counties across our state is the misuse by teenagers within these social media sites. Sexting is real. It’s not only present in our schools in Muskegon county, but probably more prevalent than what we would hope it to be. A few school districts in our county are currently dealing with open cases on sexting that involve multiple students. With this information, a decision was made to assemble our students and provide clear, concise and thorough information specific to the topic of sexting.
Our guest for each of our assemblies was Muskegon County Prosecutor, Mr. D.J. Hilson. Mr. Hilson informed our students of not only the dangers of sexting, but also what laws are in place for people who unwisely choose to engage in sexting.
At R-PHS, we want our students to know our desire is to support them in their understanding of the expansive topic of sexting. The reality of sexting is: It’s a concern in every high school across our county, state and country.
We also desire that our students know our intentions to inform them of the dangers and consequences with all forms of social media.
Mr. Hilson shared key information specific to sexting and the law:
- It is a felony to ask for an illicit photograph: 4 yr felony & sex registry
- It is a felony to possess an illicit photograph: 4 yr felony & sex registry
- It is a felony to share an illicit photograph: 7 yr felony & sex registry
- It is a felony to manufacture an illicit photograph: 20 yr felony & sex registry
- If sent an illicit photograph, report it to an adult immediately
- Consent is not a defense when it involves a minor (under the age of 18)
For the girls assembly, a focus was communicating POWER…
- Girls have the POWER to say no
- Girls give up their POWER when they succumb to pressure of sexting
- We (educators) need to EMPOWER our girls to be confident and bold in their decision to not engage in sexting
For the boys assembly, a focus was communicating RESPECT
- Our young men need to RESPECT all the girls in our school.
- Our young men need to RESPECT themselves by not engaging in sexting of any kind
- Our young men need to RESPECT the law as it relates to sexting
To view some of the slides that were presented to our students by Mr. Hilson, click on the link below.
Muskegon Prosecutor Shares Information on Sexting
Mr. Hilson shared this comment, ” Don’t let a guy like me in my position dictate or have to determine your destiny.”
If you are a parent of a pre-teen or current teenager, consider opening up a conversation on the topic of sexting with them.