Parents-Let’s Talk about Sexting

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By Tyler Pickle
Special to the Tribune

Publisher’s Note*  Sexting has become a worldwide issue and Northeast Texas is not immune to the problem. This four part series, written by a local young adult, seeks to address the issue on a personal level.
Tyler Pickle is a DeKalb High graduate currently attending Texas A&M. He is  a video journalist for 12th Man Productions, the middle man between the athletic department and ESPN, specializing in softball. Pickle is a Sport Management major with a double minor in journalism and communications. He has previously written for Odyssey, the largest website with articles written exclusively by students. 

When I was given this assignment, I was originally reluctant – mostly
because I felt hypocritical. While I myself have refrained from this act, I knew I was going to be speaking directly to my peers, both old and young. This is a problem my generation has been engulfed in, and consequently my generation’s mentors’ as well. 
Quite frankly, I’m talking directly to my friends. What is this said ‘problem’? 
Well, as the title clearly suggests, I’m talking about the obsession with sending sexual explicit messages – anything from a picture, to a video, to simple words – and the decisions directly associated with these acts. 
For the purpose of this four-part series, I am going to focus on the school system, but do not be fooled – this is an issue across the board. However, as is the case with almost any issue, you must attack the root in order to kill the problem.
At its very simplest form, there are four parties involved in this issue: the young men, the young ladies, the school, and the parents. I’m going to be brutally honest – right now, all four parties are failing. With that being said, all four parties are failing not from lack of effort, but from lack of experience, knowledge, and guidance. I’m not claiming to know how to educate or guide anyone – I’m just telling you what I have observed and how I believe these issues should tackled.
For this first article, I want to talk directly to the parents of my generation.
With technology advancing exponentially over the past 50 years, every generation has been faced with problems that the previous never thought imaginable. 
 From television and video games, to the internet and cell phones, people are learning how to use technology, and the right way to do it. Naturally, progress always comes with issues. I guarantee you that Steve Jobs never thought he would have to worry about #SendNudes trending on an app called Twitter when he came up with the idea of the iPhone, but here we are. It isn’t Steve Job’s fault, or the kids of today’s fault, or anyone’s fault, but rather an unpredictable, inevitable situation. 
To the adults attempting to influence the kids of today, you don’t know what we’re going through, as much as that might sting to hear. To the people that say stuff along the lines of, “Millennials, they just don’t have the respect for each other or discipline that we used to.”, who knows what the 16-year-old version of you would have done if you would have been given the ability to send an image to anyone in the world at any time. 
Parents, you simply cannot relate to your kids when it comes to this kind of stuff, because it wasn’t even an idea when you were our ages.             That’s not to discredit your wisdom or experience in any form or fashion, but simply a fact. 
That’s also not to say you can’t influence your children in regard to this kind of thing. 
Dads, teach your sons how to respect a lady. Moms, teach your daughters to respect her body. Do not attack this issue as character flaws in your children – attack it as a situation that you can overcome together. 
We’re just as lost and confused as you are on the subject – let’s learn together.
Part Two of the 4 part series will be in next week’s issue of the Tribune.

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