Memphis City Schools officials alarmed by "sexting" trend - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported Kontji Anthony

Memphis City Schools officials alarmed by "sexting" trend

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC-TV) - The days of passing notes in class are over.

An alarming trend called "sexting" has the Memphis City Schools system launching a new task force to deal with it.
With cell phone use so prevalent in schools, a new trend is emerging called "sexting" - sending naked or sexually suggestive text messages.

Psychologist Rebecca Rutledge, who counsels juvenile court teens, says it's mostly happening in the suburbs.

"It's increasing very much with young females," she said.

Both Rutledge and Memphis School Board Commissioner Rev. Kenneth Whalum, Jr. say teen sexting is a product of society.

"The top television shows, all you see is cadavers, dead bodies every day," said Whalum. "So nobody's morals are intact."

Now, MCS is launching a new principals' task force to tackle sexting.

But Whalum says they need to do more."What we need to do as a school board is give the principals back the tools that they used to have...that is, to correct the problem at the source - in the classroom." 

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found 20% of teens across the country have sent nude texts, and most of those teens live in the suburbs. 39% of teens have sent sexually suggestive messages.

The 17-page survey also found that boys pressure girls into sexting, but both males and females do it to get the attention of the opposite sex.

What teens may not realize is that nearly half of those sexy texts are being shared with others.

Some states are now charging teens with child pornography for texting nude pictures.

"Future jobs may check on them and look back at their activities in high schools, and if that surfaces, that's not going to be good," said Rutledge.

Psychologists urge parents to talk with their teens about the consequences of sexting.

Click here to view the complete survey and find tips to help you speak with your children.

Click here to e-mail Kontji Anthony.

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