Final Word

By Jeff Girod

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Posted April 22, 2010 in News

Four teenage boys in Yucaipa have been cited for posting nude and seminude pictures of eight classmates on the Internet, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

But apparently the Clearasil Four aren’t the only high schoolers spending less time on their Algebra homework and more time taking cues from Girls Gone Wild.

Statistics show that 1 in 5 teenagers—22 percent of teen girls and 18 percent of teen boys—have shared racy photos with classmates by cell phone or computer, also known as sexting.

One-fifth of kids are sexting! What happened to the kind of advice adults used to give when I was a ninth grader? Things like, “Don’t sit so close to the TV,” or “Stop touching that,” and “You’re not seriously going out with that shirt/those jeans/your hair like that, are you?”

I couldn’t even imagine something like sexting when I was 14. Getting naked photos from a member of the opposite sex—someone I knew and liked, and who knew and liked me back? Are you kidding? The one time a cute girl passed a note to me in homeroom I practically exploded in pubescent hormonal goo like a scene from Ghostbusters.

The fact that these horny little rug rats aren’t even fazed by sexting, but are actually swapping skimpy photos back and forth like Pokemón cards makes me ponder a few things:

One: I am never ever buying candy from a kid who comes to my front door. There’s no telling where that chocolate bar has been.

And two: When I have kids I’m having them laminated.

But more importantly, it’s obvious teenagers have no clue just how damaging sexting can be. And who better than me, a middle-aged dude who has never sent a text message and has accidentally put his cell phone in the washing machine three times to impart some timely sexting advice.

Firstly, nobody looks good in a cell phone picture—not ever—not even that one time you dressed your cat up as Kitty Gaga.

Hell, most of us don’t look good in regular photos. It’s not our fault. It’s just that nobody knows how to take a picture. Exhibit A: Every Christmas photo card I’ve ever received. Seriously, I’ve seen clearer pictures of the Loch Ness Monster. Or maybe everyone is just mailing me photos of the Loch Ness Monster in a reindeer sweater, which, if that’s the case, is pretty twisted and I should probably get some more normal friends.

The point is with all of our advanced technology people still haven’t figured out how to operate digital cameras. There are too many settings to remember: autofocus, flash, that confusing little snowman guy—whatever the hell he does. Now try keeping all of that straight while remembering to activate the autotimer, light a few candles, while being naked and looking seductive (as if anyone who still wears a retainer has the slightest clue what seductive looks like). Forget it. Bad idea. It can only end in disaster. Might as well put back on your Hello Kitty jammies, pop in a Taylor Swift CD and grab a Sunny Delight out of the fridge.

Secondly, I know you think that you and your boyfriend/girlfriend are going to be together forever, but the truth is I have cured meats that will outlast your current relationship. And the last thing you want is your ex to have a photo of you dressed like Baby New Year for retaliation purposes. Oh man, I can only imagine what an ex-girlfriend would have done with nude photos of me. I’d rather give the North Koreans a nuclear bomb or Sarah Palin her own talk show.

There are plenty of ways to show someone you care without bending over and taking cell phone pictures of your business. (Hallmark should have a commercial that says exactly that.) And the great thing about a greeting card is decades from now your spouse or grandkids won’t stumble across it on the Internet like they might with an embarrassing photo—and all because you dumped some vindictive, pimply-faced kid from Yucaipa back in the ninth grade.

Just please, for the love of Kitty Gaga, DO NOT buy a candy bar from him.

Contact Jeff Girod at finalword@ieweekly.com.


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