Think Before You Send… An Insomnia Club Joint

Everyone can bully from the comfort of their phone's key pads... Amazing
Everyone can bully from the comfort of their phone's key pads... Amazing

Today’s afterschool special-esque post is brought to you by the Insomnia Club.

I know what sexting is. It’s an irritating verb we apply to inappropriate texts, typically of the sexual variety, sent to someone else. Some of you may know of the story of a thirteen year old girl who sent racy photos of herself to her boyfriend, only to have him pass it along… Unwittingly this boy push-pressed the ignition button and that racy photo was well-distributed from then on… 

Local law officials got involved, the media, obviously, became involved and a lesson was taught once again; one that we all thought had been learned a long time ago. However, that’s not the case and we’re having conversations over matters that should be “no-brainers.”

Sexting isn’t the problem. It’s a symptom. Truth be told, I don’t mind one bit when my lady sends me a racy pic or some innuendo-filled message. That’s kinda hot and gets me through the afternoon lull. The problem is that we are still a nation of bullies. Bullying has taken on new forms, traded-in old clothes for new and yet it is still the same beast we’ve all known about; you know that beast. They were featured on after-school specials, the kids that had that asshole haircut and smelled like cheese and would kick you in the nuts and take your lunch money (this is how the mean streets of Salem, Oregon were, kids. Effing crazy).

“The Internet's not written in pencil, it's written in ink.” – the Social Network

At the core is bullying. It manifests itself in many, many ways and there are as many outlets. While sexting isn’t one necessarily of them, in my opinion, it serves as yet one more tool for people to use to punish the too-trusting and naïve among us. It’s a real problem and one that isn’t going to go away. Even where my girlfriend teaches (she teaches 8th grade) she must be aware of what her students are doing online because it affects her classroom directly…

Oh how the world has changed, and right in front of our very eyes and keyboards.
Do any of us really “get” it? One movie quote I particularly liked, and a prime example of bullying, is from the Social Network. Mark Zuckerberg exploits the women on the Harvard Campus by pinning their photos to a type of On-Campus “hot or not” website as a means to strike back against his ex.  Zuck tried to apologize to his ex-squeeze, she rebuffs him “The Internet's not written in pencil, it's written in ink.” That’s a lesson I learned the hard way recently.

When people are killing themselves because their inner most secrets are revealed, when their “Kool-Aid” is spilled across the floor for all to consume; we have to take a step back and think. What on earth have we gotten ourselves into? The tools that serve to bring us together through better communication and increased information sharing are also the tools that can cut the deepest and leave the most severe scars… It’s time to take some ownership. As friends, parents, siblings, Luchadores or whatever, we have an obligation to call attention to such bullying.

I admit that I have bullied people in the digital age, more than once. Sometimes I have bullied people by sending and re-sending, hundreds of times mind you, (using a monitoring and notification technology at one of my previous jobs. Story for another time, kids) the Goetse photo to people until they did what I wanted them to do… More seriously, though, I’ve bullied a person, for what I felt was a completely justifiable reason… I was wrong. There was a better way to handle things. Bullying, regardless of how righteous the cause, is still bullying and it is incumbent upon us to take the “higher road.” Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.

Where does that leave us, though? We sit at the precipice of the information age and the tools it provides. Pressing a simple insignificant ‘send’ button has very real consequences in today’s world. All I’m asking is that before you press that send/share button is that you think before you do it. Take a few minutes and think before you send…

What my fellow Insomniacs are saying about this…

the Consensus of Flies: a Rant
Don’t Talk to Her, She’s a Slut by Simone Grant
Enough With the Slut-Shaming Already by MetAnotherFrog
Sexting, Sexting, 1, 2, 3… by Totally Tyler
The Tale of the 13 Year-Old Slut by Confronting Love
Sexting and the Mean Girl v.2.o by Jess Downey
When Teenagers and Sexual Curiosity Collide with Technology by Miss Melisa Mae

Author Profile

Alex is the founder and managing editor at the Urban Dater. Alex also runs: DigiSavvy, for which he is the co-founder and Principal. Alex has a lot on his mind. Will he ever get it right? If he does, he'll be sure to write.

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  1. Hi Alex,

    Indeed, I like how you cite that sexting is itself a symptom and not necessarily so much "The Issue." There is bullying, of course. And then there is also the emotional and psychological maturity level of the people involved. What mature adults, I'll arbitrarily pick an age and just say, "over 35 years old" even if publicly humiliated with a mass sharing of something intimately meant only for one's life partner, we could in all likelihood withstand it. However a 14 year old, a 16 year old, and even a 21 year old just does not likely have the emotional resources to counteract that kind of potential bullying attack. Just as you recommend, please do think before you send those pix. Or even take them! Protect yourself online and in person. Just some good dating guidelines.

    April Braswell

    1. Thanks for the comment, April. You bring up an excellent point there, with respect to maturity. What I also see as a talking point are the tools that we allow children to use these days. I'm speaking of phones and what not. It may be a bit extreme of me to say, but I think that's also a problem, too. That is, giving children these powerful phones to pretty much do as they please, when they're still too young to know better… I say take the damn phone away. Really!

  2. I really like this post, and completely agree. People often take advantage of the fact that it's digital interaction and say things they normally wouldn't in person, and even might think there aren't real world consequences, but there are!

    Great post, keep em' coming 🙂

    Lennie Ross http://lennierosswrites.com
    My recent post Silver Girl

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