Fun today, consequences forever

In the era of the "anything goes" mentality which allows children to be "independent" and "free thinkers," some parents seem to have lost sight of the most important job as parents — knowing what their teens are doing.

It used to be a lot easier. Teens didn't have as many perks as they do now — cars, money, and, yes, modern technology that includes cell phones, digital cameras, and laptops.

Who would have thought that teens would take these wonderful devices and find a way to degrade themselves.

"I don't like you today so I'm going to take a picture of you in a very embarrassing pose and send it to everyone I know."

"I really like that guy. I think I'll get his attention by sending him a photo of me — all of me. That'll make him like me."

Sometimes, it appears, that girls are doing it merely for the shock value.

"My friend sent a nude picture of herself to one guy, so I'll put a nude picture of myself on FaceBook."

Have they become so de-sensitized to the world around them that there are no boundaries of decency? Where's their self-worth? Is it because they're female that they feel they have to do this to get the attention they crave?

Unfortunately, when 14- or 15-year-old teens do this, it does more than spoil their reputation.

Can you imagine little Ellie Lou growing up, getting a teaching degree, and interviewing for her first job only to find that the school won't hire her because a 10-year-old photo of a then 15-year-old Ellie Lou wearing nothing but a smile, still is circulating via the Internet?

Or a pedophile sees the sweet-faced ingenue on a child porn site that was posted by someone who received a "copy" of the sexting photo or picked it up from another all-too-convenient source on a Web site. How many times have we read about a predator driving halfway across the country just to molest a child?


And what about the girls who expose themselves via e-mail or cell phone? It may not happen in this neck of the woods but some places may actually prosecute them for indecent exposure.

In a disposable society it sure is interesting that this one aspect of life will be around what seems like forever.

Is it time for parents to take control of their children's lives by monitoring what is on their cell phones, digital cameras, and computers?

Cell phones are probably one of the best inventions for keeping track of Junior but why do children and teens need cell phones with all of the bells and whistles? Why not buy a cell phone for the phone. Forget texting and photographing.

Too many times parents want to be "friends" to their children, particularly teens. They want to be the "cool" parents.

You may be known as a "cool" parent right now but at some point you may also be known as the parent of a teen who sat and did nothing while your child exploited herself.

I hope this behavior stops before something horrific happens and we're all sitting around, wondering how it could happen in our safe little town.