How One Text Message Can Destroy Your Teenage Life
One winter day in 2010, Margarite, an 8th grade teenager living in Washington State, USA decided to send a nude cell phone picture of herself to a new boyfriend, Isaiah. What she did not know was that with a single push of the send button on her cell phone she would alter her teenage life forever.
Margarite had no idea that her new boyfriend Isaiah was also getting close with a former friend, who in a fight over Isaiah's attention, had turned into Margarite's enemy. When Isaiah recieved the photo of Maragrite he told the friend, who asked to see it. Isaiah forwarded to the friend, who then sent it to every contact on her cell phone with a message to forward it along to as many people as possible.
By the next day at school, the photo had been forwarded hundreds of times. When teachers found out, both Isaiah and the girl were taken into custody by the police, Margarite was also pulled from the school. The principal had to leave a message with every student's parent in the school about the picture and the story was featured on local news for the next month.
Isaiah and the girl who forwarded the picture were given community service and mandated to create an awareness campaign about "sexting" or sending solicit photos and messages on the cell phone. For Margarite however, her life was changed forever. She tried to change to another school 15 miles away, but the picture had been found and forwarded by a student and Margarite was taunted and teased relentelessly. Eventually Margarite decided to return to her old school, but found that she was reminded of that text message almost everyday. Even as Margarite starts to move on, the incident will be with her throughout the teenage years.
In the new digital age, we need to educate young people about "sexting" and the power of a digital footprint. A mistake made in one text message can follow you around for the rest of your life. How can we avoid other young people from making the same mistake? Please give your thoughts.