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.