My newspaper shocked me again today. The front page had an article about what the schools are doing to try to keep nude photos of the students from being passed around the school and Internet. Who would ever have thought that would be a problem the school administrators would have? The article stated that 1 in 5 students had sent or posted nude or partially nude photos on their cellphones or the Internet.
The shocking thing? A 16 year old girl was quoted as saying she had sent a nude photo of herself to a boy as a way of flirting. Excuse me? I have a lot of words for that type behavior but flirting isn't one of them. She says she trusted this 16 year old boy with her photo. I know teens are often on their on planet, but I can't imagine a world where a 16 year old boy doesn't show an unsolicited naked photo of a girl he'd not dating to someone else. Is this really considered normal now?
The statistics posted were even more disturbing. Of the teens interviewed:
48% boys have received nude or partially nude photos
40% boys and 37% girls have sent photos
22% girls and 18% boys have sent or posted nude or partially nude photos of themselves
11% of the girls 13-16 have sent or posted nude or partially nude photos of themselves.
A few years ago, I was playing a game with a chat line. A new player joined us and started making sexual statements. The other three of us just ignored him. He asked if we minded him flirting. I had to tell him that behaving boorishly was not flirting. He gave up on us. Later I was in a game where a couple starting out talking about the size of her breasts, went into sexual innuendo, then abandoned the pretense and began the plain talk. As soon as the game was over, I jumped to another room. Later someone said the lady "flirted" like that often.
I grew up when flirting was fun. The playful banter of words left both people feeling happy. I liked being a flirt and didn't mind being called a flirt. I enjoyed seeing other people flirt. It was easily done in public and was never offensive. Maybe if we should teach our kids the art of flirting.