Parent Alert: Is Your Child Sexting?
It is very common for todayâs kids to forward text messages and jokes laced with sexual innuendos. Experts feel that unsolicited sexting is about compulsive behaviours, suppressed sexuality and perversion. Unaware of the legal dimensions of their acts, some of these children even go on to develop a compulsive need to share text messages and pictures with sexual undertones â that is when sexting becomes a psychological problem. Halabol talked to an eleven-year-old child to understand this much prevalent trend.
Imagining a kid of today's time without a phone is like imagining a Cheshire cat without a smile. Parents and elders in almost all families have succumbed to the fact that their child has to have a phone. Now the general whining is no more about "whether to have a phone," but about "whether to have one with or without a front-facing camera!"
Kids are no less intelligent than us. If itâs convenient for an adult to watch pornography on his/her (we donât want to be sexist, you see!) Smartphone, then so it is for todayâs kids, who are technologyâs own begotten heirs. They have means and gifts â superfast internet, amazing and quick-learning brains and oblivious parents.
Parents often feel delighted at how they cannot operate a touch-enabled phone, but their children can. Chortles Mrs Negi:
To be honest, I don't know how to use these complicated devices, but everyone agrees that Vinay (her son) is one of the brightest kid we have had in our family... He often makes us talk to my sister in Canada.
To his credit, Vinay, 11, knows how to operate Skype on his Android device. Otherwise, he had a CGPA of 5.7 in his last annual result, which is erroneously reported as 60 per cent by his doting mother (CBSE mandates CGPA to be multiplied with a factor of 9.5 to obtain indicative percentage). That is like people reporting 89 per cent as 90; 5.7 is actually about 54 per cent. Not that we complain, as the current system is about doing away with the rat race for marks, but Mrs Negiâs gushing made us do some mental-math.
Handing over the mobile of Vinay to us, Mrs Negi continued her affectionate soliloquy: "Marks don't matter, you see. He's got a first division. Vinay's dad had just 50% in inter and he's at such a high post in his bank."
We didn't get time to bring her notice to the fact that her husband's times were different and that her son's percentage wasn't really sixty, but a partial on-screen preview of an incoming text on Vinay's phone caught our attention: "Whn R Uh Gettin Ur Ass To Mah Plc?"
We couldnât read the entire thing, because Vinay had leapt for it in no time and we didnât really want to be peeping toms. It took us a minute to comprehend what it meant. As we handed over the phone to Vinay, he quickly read it and laughed sheepishly, and lo and behold, swore: "Bloody son of a b****, I'm so gonna f*** the sh*t outta him!"
Vinay is rather extrovert and his real name doesn't mean 'courtesy' (oh yes, we changed the name); while his mom was away arranging supper for us, he told us what was on, and our worst fears came true. These kids were involved in sexting, what we thought was more of a western phenomenon.
One of his male friends had Photoshopped Sunny Leoneâs recent condom advertisement pictures with Vinayâs picture. He had already sent it to their friend circle, and Vinay had to do something as part of âTruth and Dareâ at his Photoshop friendâs home to prevent him from uploading âsteamierâ pictures at facebook. We had acclimatized by then and didnât jump from the couch on hearing âsteamier,â but we did ask him what those steamier pictures would have: "Oh nothing... just Photoshopped pics from the trailer of Jism 2."
(Vinay's face was probably Photoshopped on Arunoday Singh's face on this promotional still from Jism 2)
Just because Pooja Bhatt will release the movie for mature audience shall not prevent these kids from reading about them, given that leading dailies carry detailed accounts of the movieâs development. We all know how as kids we all loved to go through the page on movies the first! We wonât be surprised if they actually end up watching these films. Oh, but we were witnessing a severe bout of generation gap, since Vinay went on: "Who wants to see Jism 2? It wonât have anything!"
We were more scandalized than amused. Maybe Vinay is a little too forthcoming, but he surely wasnât cooking all these details on his own.
We asked Vinay how it felt â to be made part of such doctored pics?. He was cool and hastened to add:
We do much more; this is nothing... we keep on sharing jokes, videos and much more. Everyone has whatsApp and works amazingly on wifi... 3G sucks! Those buddies who have iPhones or Blackberries have also downloaded it.
Of course we could understand what this much would more be, so we never bothered to prod further, but we did want to confirm if their group was involved in sexting.
Well, we take such things as jokes. Nobody means them, but yes, a girl recently cried in our class, since a guy was sending her insane stuff. We donât talk to him much. But those going around do share their feelings. Whatâs wrong with that?
Of course, kids are kids. Vinay, too, doesnât understand the gravity of the problem yet. We think that parents need to be proactive, while the State needs to decide if we are liberal enough to leave everything at the mercy of market forces. If they want to regulate the internet, why not start with something constructive? If our kids are not empowered enough with sex education, it can be pretty dangerous to expose them to everything what western kids have access to. Internet companies can offer customized internet connections with blocked websites to homes where adults are unaware of what all their wards do.
If this trend goes on unbridled, we shall soon start witnessing psychological, interpersonal and legal repercussions. In countries like the US, those sending or receiving (even minors) nude/compromising pictures of individuals under 18 risk charges as serious as possession or distribution of child pornography. We, of course, have no such legislations.
Experts feel that unsolicited sexting is about compulsive behaviours, suppressed sexuality and perversion. Adds Dr. Jerath:
My own nephew faced this problem. It starts when the mind gets obsessed with sexual thoughts; sooner reasoning and judiciousness fails, and the sexter feels a sense of power and control â finally getting a high from repeat behaviour. It borders on sadism in its mildest form.
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