Since Everyone Else is Talking About Anthony Wiener

People say he’s a pervert. People say he’s a bad husband. But Anthony Wiener is not that special. He just happens to be in a position where his indiscretions are plastered across news headlines.

The reality is we’re all just one poor decision away from the same fate.

In this day and age where it’s becoming increasingly more popular (ie. cool, funny) to nonchalantly send private material to boyfriends, friends and even strangers (otherwise known as sexting), there’s something we can all learn from the likes of Anthony Wiener:

What you believe you’re sharing privately probably won’t stay private.

Messages can inadvertently be sent to the wrong person. Phones can be stolen. Boyfriends/Girlfriends come and go (but will still have your pictures). What you put online is nearly impossible to take offline. Even Ellen DeGeneres embarrasses her audience with a segment called, “‘In Your Facebook.” Your digital footprint is forever.

A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t want your mom to see it then don’t post it, text it, email it or even more simply… just don’t do it.

And a note for parents about your kid and sexting:

  • 38% of teens have sent or posted sexually suggestive messages.
  • 48% of teens have received a sexually suggestive message from someone.
  • 29% say they have had nude or semi-nude images—originally meant for someone else—shared with them.
  • 45% of teens do not know that getting caught sending nude or nearly nude photos involves legal consequences.
  • 51% of girls say pressure from a guy is a reason girls send sexy messages or images.
  • 69% of teens who sext have sent/posted sexual content to a boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • 63% of teens who sext have sent/posted sexual content to be “fun or flirtatious.”
  • 86% of teens who sext are not caught by authority figures.

You are the Parent:

  • Your kid’s cell phone is yours to check and to check often. Especially if you’re paying for it. Texts. Emails. Browser history. Apps. Everything.
  • You must be at least 13 years old to sign up for a Facebook account. Your 10, 11 or 12 year old doesn’t need an account. This doesn’t make you a bad parent. Lying about your kid’s age so they can have a Facebook account does.
  • If your kid is old enough to have a social media account, you should have access to it at any time (be friends with them on Facebook even if they fight you about it—though keep in mind that they can hide you from posts they don’t want you to see, which is why having their password is best).
  • Keep your kid accountable when they are online (cell phone, computer, etc.) with tools like Covenant Eyes (one month free with this link). This is not about filtering out what you don’t want them to see. It’s about keeping them accountable for what they do see.

Again, we’re all just one poor decision away from a reputation we can’t outrun. Choose wisdom.

“I turned my heart to know and to search out and to seek wisdom…” Ecclesiastes 7:25a

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