Teen Sexting Rings Are A Thing Now, Just In Case You Ran Out of Things To Worry About

shutterstock_180808304We all know that teenagers can do some monumentally idiotic stuff, but now you can add “100-teen strong sexting rings” to your list of fears, somewhere between vodka soaked tampons and condom snorting. All facetiousness aside, sexting is actually something I simultaneously worry about and pretend my kid won’t ever do, because while it’s pretty unlikely that your teenager will become entwined in the dark world of smarties smoking, it’s estimated that about one in five teens will snap a picture of their naughty bits to share.

That’s pretty much exactly what happened in Louisa county, Virginia, where 100 teens were involved in a sexting ring that spanned five neighboring counties and uncovered over a thousand photos and videos of nude or semi-nude teenagers, most of them girls. Over 20 cellphones were seized, and an investigation is under way to determine how much of the sharing was consensual.

What’s different about this case is that rather than turning a bunch of idiot teens into sex offenders, the Louisa school district and sheriff’s office is attempting to educate them instead. The Louisa County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy Donald Lowe told the AP that,

“We said from the beginning that we’re not going to label everyone who participated in this a sex offender…it would be counterproductive to do that. There’s no reason to destroy people’s lives and careers over this.”

I have to admit that I have mixed feelings on this one. On the one hand, if I were brought up on criminal charges for all of the stupid–and yes, sometimes illegal–stuff that I did as a teenager, I would be massively screwed. So I’m okay with consensual sexters not being labelled sex offenders before their brains are developed enough to realize that dick pics are a dumb idea.

On the other hand, a lot of sexting spreads non-consensually, with some hormone-addled girl sending her hormone-addled boyfriend a nudie, which he then shares with a bunch of his hormone-addled friends. But instead of focusing on the whole, “Hey, maybe don’t spread around private pictures because that’s four kinds of messed up”, they’re focusing on the girls, reminding them to not take pictures in the first place, because if you do you’re basically saying you don’t mind if everyone sees them.

I get that. I plan on buying my daughter one of those cellphones you can purchase from the back of Parade magazine, so natch I don’t have to worry about her texting racy pics to anyone, but just in case, I’ll probably tell her how not worth it it is to send cleavage shots to some rando from homeroom.

But considering that Virginia criminalized revenge porn in February, and that non-consensual sharers can be prosecuted, doesn’t it make sense to drive that home, too? I guess I’m just saying that if I caught my daughter participating in some prolific Roman-style orgiastic sexting ring, there would be serious consequences. I would want to know that if some skeever shared her pics around without her permission, he would face them too.

(Image:Heliosphile/shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Theresa Edwards, on twitter.
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    • CMJ

      This shit…this is what terrifies me about life….

      http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view2/3275954/jim-shudder-o.gif

      • Robotic Socks

        CMJ, you moved on from Kevin Spacey to Jim Halper now?

      • CMJ

        Just for you RS, Just for you.

    • itpainsme2say

      ITs Virginia again what is going on in my home state?

      • Robotic Socks

        Better than Maria’s luck with her state…

      • itpainsme2say

        True at least i don’t live in Florida.

    • Bethany Ramos

      You had me at Parade magazine.

      • Valerie

        They have the best bras too. So comfy.

      • https://twitter.com/FaintlyXMacabre Theresa Edwards

        I also read SPRY

    • Valerie

      This is where I invoke the part of Tina Fey’s prayer for her daughter where she asks God to break the internet forever.

    • Lee

      I let my boyfriend take naked pictures of me when I was 17. They were Polaroids though. Walgreen’s wouldn’t develop nudie pics. I have a couple nudies of him too in a box, in a box, in a box in my house just in case my pics should ever be uploaded to the internet. I just hope my husband and children never find them.

      • Lackadaisical

        Ah, the cheeky polaroids of our youth. I didn’t have any naked ones taken but I believe that there may be some of me wearing nothing but a footie shirt out their (what you probably call soccer). Actually, I think there might be two, each in different shirts as I dated more than one football fanatic. One is safely in the hands of my husband and buried at the bottom of a draw somewhere, as I married one of the football fans but the other one exists out there somewhere. If it ever surfaced I would be torn between embarrassment and a sense of “look, I used to be young and skinny”.

    • Robotic Socks

      Hm… now I wonder if there’s some secret M’ish sexting ring that I’m missing out on

      • Lackadaisical

        You only had to ask, sweetie. Here I am

      • Robotic Socks

        Nice rack Madam!

      • Lackadaisical

        Why thank you … you will remember this is just between me, you and everyone who reads this incredibly public post won’t you? I am trusting you not to pass it on to all your friends.

      • Robotic Socks

        Never. I shall put it right next to my crusty socks

      • Lackadaisical

        Ta Socks, you are a real gent. I may not fulfil the ultimate dream of being a page 3 stunna wearing very little in the Sun newspaper but having my picture in the crusty sock draw of a complete stranger in another country is the next best thing.

        You’ve been such a diamond geezer that I feel like I can share this picture of me from my younger, thinner days with you. Please remember once again that this is just between you, me and absolutely everyone who has access to the internet.

      • Robotic Socks

        Well aren’t you preeeecious

      • Lackadaisical

        Ssssss … we likes you, we does

      • ted3553

        I just wish you weren’t making the duck face in this pic. It really ruins it

      • Lackadaisical

        I was blowing kisses/pouting in a sultry way while giving come hither looks with my eyes, that’s sexy, isn’t it? Oh blast… you’re right it was total duck face. You can also see that I was trying to make a peace sign with my raised hand but somehow couldn’t handle counting to such a large number as two and shoved up as many fingers as I thought was close.

      • Valerie

        There so is. But we never invite you because we don’t want to PRY.

      • Robotic Socks

        >:(

      • Valerie

        Just text me sometime. 867-5309.

      • Robotic Socks

        Some dude name Romeo asked me WTF did I text him a pic of my ass

        >:(

      • Valerie

        Yeah he screens all my texts for dick pics.

    • Robotic Socks
    • keelhaulrose

      They just busted a sexting ring at the middle school my daughter will be attending in a few years.
      I seriously considered home-schooling. I’m trying to raise my daughters to be smart and respect their bodies and to not trust anyone with anything they don’t want going public, but I know kids can be complete idiots and impulsive.

      • https://twitter.com/FaintlyXMacabre Theresa Edwards

        Teenagers are basically just boners and bad decisions held together by hormone glue.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        This is 100% true.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        There’s a sexting ring at every middle school everywhere. Yours just might have gotten publicity. Even though we teach them it’s against the law and it’s child porn and yadayada. You say “Don’t take nude pictures” they miss the word don’t and hear the rest….I guess what I’m trying to say is it’s not just your school that’s bad; it’s everywhere.

    • TwentiSomething Mom

      You scared me for a second. I thought vodka soaked tampons really were a thing.

    • JJ

      Am I the only kid who was shy as hell as a teenager and was more focused on being self concious then sending pictures of my boobies or female anatomy to everyone via pictures? Most of the people I knew in school, even the gorgeous non awkward girls, weren’t taking nude pics and floating them around school. Maybe a few did discreetly but I am pretty sure most of us didn’t. We were to busy being angst ridden teenagers with body hang ups and wearing a skimpy bikini bathing suit sometimes was even a big self concious moment. Why would you want to take pictures of yourself naked and send them out via a phone that anyone can find if you lost it and send your pictures out into the world. Has no one in this younger generation heard of hackers? Thieves? Or nosey bullies at school who will use this against you. Keep your titties, vagina’s, and dick’s to in person sex interactions okay kids. It’s not worth the awful backlash that can happen if or rather when those photos get found including potential legal issues. Seriously not worth it. Maybe we need to go back to being self concious again and awkward instead of this selfie rage age.

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