These young women and men need help not prosecution. Teens, especially girls, who participate in these activities are looking for attention. They have unfortunately learned that showing their bodies gets them a lot of attention. They need to learn other ways of getting attention. Positive attention.

The recent case of a MySpace user who posted about 30 explicit nude pictures of herself is especially troubling.

The 14 year old wanted to show the images to her boyfriend and uploaded them. She is now facing possible prosecuting as a sex offender under Megan’s law. I doubt this teen intended for the whole world to see her body and even if she did, it is her body. Regardless, Megan’s law was not created to prosecute children who exploit themselves. It takes law enforcement away from investigating and prosecuting actual sex offenders when these cases are brought to trial.

This teen needs caring adults to show that they love and respect her for who she is. Then she will begin to understand that she doesn’t need to show her body to anyone to receive attention. The way to deal with these situations is to provide counseling and a caring adult’s involvement to help the teen become a happier, safer individuals.

Adults also need to take the responsibility to be more involved in their teen’s online life. Educating teens about what safe online activities are and what puts them at risk emotionally and physically is extremely important. We can’t be their “friend” on every site they join, but we can help them to make smart decisions online.

*When teens send sexually suggestive (or explicit) images of themselves and others by cell phone it is called sexting.