I got my first cellular telephone when I was 14. It felt like the gods had “made it rain”. I could choose any monophonic ringtone, change covers and I quickly made it to level 4 of Snake. It bulged out of my front jean pocket but I was not ashamed to show anyone that I had a Nokia 5110. Not to mention the privacy! I could send a text without my mother lingering in the kitchen to hear whom I’m talking to on the landline (she still does it).
A few years later my friends and I were in awe of the colour screen, MP3 ringtone, camera and a bigger memory that could save more than 15 messages. Following my final high school year I could browse the web, download music, record videos, email, MMS and IM. Keep up because if you have a child who has a cellphone, they are using all these features and applications!
This middle class concern is about violating student privacy and raiding their cellphones for pornography and sexts (sexy texts). The technological improvements I’ve mentioned where the start of some rotten behaviour. Generation Y has taken playing “doctor- doctor” /”mommy and daddy” a little too far and in the process played a large part in distributing child pornography. Etv’s investigative programme 3rd Degree caused quite a stir after exposing teen sexting. I wondered if mom’s and dad’s where not listening in on their children’s conversations anymore?
Results from a survey conducted by Cosmo Girl and The National Campaign: prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy says 22% of teens (13- 19yrs) have sent or posted nude pictures or videos of themselves. In addition, 39% have sent sexually suggestive messages. Texts, email and instant messaging are even more prevalent than sexually suggestive images. Most teens and young adults who send sexually suggestive content are sending it to boyfriends/ girlfriends whilst others say they are sending such material to those they want to ‘’hook up’’ with or to someone they only know online.
Let me make it clear, this means that potential employers, university recruiters, teachers, parents, friends and strangers may all be able to find pictures or videos of you that have been posted on the internet, even after you delete them. I barely make a new friend without checking out their Facebook profile first. It is impossible to control what your 15 year old pimply boyfriend is posting about you. Even if you have second thoughts and delete a topless photo, someone has already copied that photo and posted it elsewhere. So? Raid those phones!
Last year the Sowetan reported: “A group of 13-year-old girls were caught sipping vodka and watching a pornographic video on a cellphone – allegedly of one of the girls having sex with her boyfriend” at Port Elizabeth’s Collegiate High School. Those students are free to sue the school for invading their privacy and violating freedom of speech rights. But the Bill of Rights also speaks of the “limitation of rights”. I am no lawyer but unsupervised hours on the net and those cute little Blackberry’s may risk your child’s mental health as well as spiritual, moral or social development.
Thank you to my Aunt Funeka for suggesting this topic. The one question I couldn’t address is “who has set the tone for this?” It’s hard to imagine myself as a teen sending nude pic’s to a stranger. The fear of God, Mom and teacher were always too high. I would love to hear your comments. Until this has been tackled, my niece and nephew can look forward to 5110’s bulging out their front jean pockets.
Ps. Follow me on Twitter @PhakamaniLisa