Sunday, August 17, 2014
The Consequences of Teens and Sexting
For the reported one out of every six kids who have received a “friend’s” naked picture online and been asked to return the favor, there is pressure to participate. No longer categorized as a trend, sexting is an epidemic – an epidemic that now has a smart answer. The newly launched Send This Instead app gives a novel and witty way to say “No!” to the request for an intimate image.
The Send This Instead app meets kids where they’re at without taking a demeaning or authoritative approach. We’ve tried the scare tactics, embarrassment, and even punishment and now it’s time to step back and give them tools. When kids feel pressured to send intimate photos or share inappropriate content they can open their Send This Instead app and, well, send something else instead!
Humor can diffuse difficult situations, especially online. Staring at that blank conversation box can seem daunting when you don’t know how to respond or feel obligated to do something that you’re not comfortable with.
Sexting is dangerous, socially, emotionally and legally. The Send This Instead app gives young persons an alternative, accessible, and effective method to say no.
Created by members of the Ontario Provincial Police, Child Sexual Exploitation Unit in Ontario, Canada, the free app gives an edgy and funny alternative to sexting. Understanding the social pressures to sext, Inspector Scott Naylor, manager of unit, says, “Until now, anti-sexting campaigns have focused on warning kids about the dangers of sending explicit pictures of themselves, but it isn’t working, we need a new strategy.”
Taking the idea to comedians, graphic artists and musicians who could bring the novelty of the app to a broader audience, the members dug in. As a result, the Send This Instead app contains digital posters of humorous and sarcastic retorts that users can send instead of nude photos. Combined with entertaining graphics, funny and pointed messages include, “Sorry, just in the middle of something…Can I reject you later?” and “Save the bandwidth….Download a life,” among many others.
The free Send This Instead app also offers teen education called “Life Bytes” on how to deal with issues surrounding sexting. The app provides links to organizations like NeedHelpNow.ca, a website and program maintained by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection which helps kids get nude sexting photos off of the Internet. It also links to abuse pages for social media and IM platforms as well as to country-specific agencies to report people asking for nude images.
The Send This Instead website www.sendthisinstead.com offers free media and presentation pieces for anyone reaching out to teens in a live setting, such as classrooms and community groups. The app can be used in tandem with the presentations.
The Send This Instead app is available in the Apple App Store as well as Google Play Store. To download click on the following links: