“Electronic Hickey”

This post’s title comes from a state prosecutor’s description of teenagers have naked pictures of boyfriends or girlfriends on their cell phones.  It is “an advertisement that you’re sexually active to a degree that gives you status. It’s an electronic hickey.”  The prosecutor is quoted in A Girl’s Nude Photo, and Altered Lives, an article from Sunday’s New York Times that discusses sexting.  The article focuses on Margarite, an 8th grade girl who send her then-boyfriend Isaiah a naked picture of herself.  Isaiah and Margarite broke up a few weeks later, and he forwarded the picture to a girl identified in the article only as Margarite’s “former friend”–“tough and strong-willed, determined to stand out as well as fit in.” Former Friend then forwarded the photo to her contact list with this message:  “Ho Alert! If you think this girl is a whore, then text this to all your friends.”  The quality of Margarite’s life deteriorated from there.  The photo spread throughout Margarite’s school, a school to which she transferred, and beyond.  School officials and police learned of the photo’s viral distribution and charged Isaiah and Former Friend with disseminating child pornography.   The prosecutor agreed to reduce and dismiss the charges if the three charged created public service messages about the dangers of sexting and met with Margarite to discuss what happened.  The article presents a broad view of the issues, noting that sexting is not illegal–the AARP (look it up, kids) has written of it approvingly–, and that the media presents teenagers with conflicting messages, wagging its finger about its dangers while winking at it through, for example, Megan Fox’s 2010 Superbowl ad for Motorola.

4 thoughts on ““Electronic Hickey””

  1. It sounds like Isaiah and the "former friend" just got off with a slap on the wrist. I know it was not a wise decision to send nude pictures of yourself to your middle school boyfriend but those two kids just ruined this girls life. All they have to do is make a public service announcement, which means they will most likely be on tv and then have to meet with her. I think they sould have had more of a punishment because Magarite has surely been.

    I feel like kids these days are more involved and interested in the media since they are always connected with their phones, computers and so on, that they feel more inclined to follow what they see on tv. Also they are growing up faster than they used to. I know when I was in 8th grade things like this we are not happening.

  2. I think it's stupid that kids do something like this, because kids are too idealistic. 8th graders probably expect their relationships to last a long time, and so they do something like this not realizing the consequences of their actions. I'm just glad that the girl didn't do anything crazy because of her new reputation, because it just reminds me of the homosexual student from Rutgers who committed suicide after his inconsiderate roommate cyber-taped him when he was with a male friend. I feel as though young kids, and even older kids like myself, need to start thinking of the consequences of our actions and not being extremely idealistic – especially because the world we live in is so connected.

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