Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Teen Commits Suicide -- Is Sexting to Blame?

We're saddened by a story about a teen who hanged herself in her bedroom after an ex-boyfriend disseminated a nude cell-phone photo of her around their Ohio community. Jessica Logan, 18, was harassed daily by other girls calling her "slut" and "whore" and throwing objects at her.

Making It Through
She finished high school last year and went on national television with her face and voice distorted to warn other girls about the potential consequences of taking naked photos of themselves, a mistake Vanessa Hudgens later made.

But two months later, after attending a funeral for another teen who had committed suicide, Jessica went home and took her own life.

A Common Mistake
An oft-cited survey says that 39 percent of teens have sent similar photos of themselves ... and 15 percent of high-school boys say they disseminate the pics after a breakup.

The "Today" show had an "Internet security expert" on hand to warn of the dangers of "sexting" and urge parents to check their kids' cell phones. But isn't the real problem old-fashioned high-school cruelty?

"Sexting" and online bullying may be relatively new, but girls tormenting other girls over their alleged promiscuity has been around forever.

We're glad to hear from the security expert that schools are finally being held liable for bullying (including some cyber-bullying), but we're not sure if that will be enough to keep kids from tormenting each other.

"Mean Girls" has a touching ending, but what can school officials and parents do to help real-life teens make peace? Should we blame technology ... or ourselves?

Tell us! What should parents or administrators do to teach kids about the dangers of sexting? Is it just another rite of passage?

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