A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this MTV special looks at sexting -- the act of sending sexually suggestive photos by text message -- and at the emotional and legal consequences this behavior can have on those who engage in it. It also offers some limited advice on how to handle sexting situations. Not surprisingly, it contains some strong sexual references (including words like “slut,” “whore,” “ho;” the word “c- -k” is bleeped) and sext images (breasts and genitals are blurred). It also contains lots of references to celebrity sex scandals. All of these things are offered within context, and are intended to educate the viewer. IPods, Blackberries, and Motorola phones are visible, as well as the AOL logo. This is one you may want to watch with your teens, both to learn more about the phenomena and to talk about its implications.
What's the story?
SEXTING IN AMERICA: WHEN PRIVATES GO PUBLIC is an MTV News special dedicated to defining the term sexting, and highlighting the potential dangers people face when doing it. Hosted by former America’s Next Top Model contestant Kim Stolz, the program combines interviews with media experts, lawyers, and young people who have faced serious emotional and legal consequences as a result of requesting and/or sending sexually explicit images via computer and/or cell phone. It also shares statistics recently drawn from an MTV study on digital abuse, and offers some limited advice about what to do if faced with a sexting situation.
Is it any good?
The series offers some surprising and alarming information about the sexting phenomena, which has become a growing problem throughout the United States. It attempts to appeal to young viewers by featuring excerpts from music videos featuring singers like R. Kelly and Beyoncé, TV shows like Degrassi and 90210, and the film American Pie. Although it discusses sex scandals surrounding celebs like Pete Wentz and Rihanna, it still succeeds at discussing sexting without being salacious. It also underscores the idea that anyone, no matter how rich and/or famous, can be harmed by this behavior.
Because of the show’s 30-minute length, it only manages to scratch the surface of what has become a disturbing trend among young people today. But the information it does contain is worth listening to. Overall, it gives an informative, but serious warning to kids and their parents about the dangerous and devastating consequences sexting can have on their lives.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about sexting and the consequences of doing it. If you are ever sexted, or pressured to sext, what should you do? Where can people go for help for this sort of thing? Aside from the embarrassment and the legal implications, what other kinds of impact can sexting have on a person? Will it affect someone’s abiity to get into college or find a job? How? Parents: Check out our Common Sense advice about talking to your kids about about sexting and responsible text messaging.
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