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Teacher’s Note: Please insert/discuss the below new material on Social Media/Sexting in Lesson 6 of WAY, on page 41, as a replacement to the role-play situations on that page.

10 minutes

Say: A type of pressure teens are increasingly facing is to “sext” — which means to send a sexually related message or a nude or partially nude photo of themselves electronically (eg., through a text, email, posting on social media, etc.) to another teen — usually someone they are dating. Studies indicate as many as one in four students have participated in sexting. The problem is most teens don’t realize the serious harm that can occur from such an action. Let’s look briefly at the true story of two students, Jesse and Philip.

Teacher’s Note: You can either view the video at or read the stories below.

Jesse was young, pretty — a perfectly normal high school student — and seemingly had the world by the tail. Then one day, she made a regretful decision. Using her cell phone, she took a nude photo of herself and sent it to her boyfriend. But when they broke up, she was betrayed when he forwarded the compromising photo to the cell phones of hundreds of other teens. Jesse became the focus of extreme, ongoing ridicule and abuse and was devastated emotionally.

Philip was angry with his ex-girlfriend after their break up. To get back at her, he made a decision that will harm his future for years to come. Philip forwarded nude pictures of his ex-girlfriend to more than 70 people, and was then convicted of transmitting child pornography. He is serving 5 years probation and will remain classified as a “sex offender” until he’s at least 43 years old. As a result Philip got kicked out of college, can’t find a job and has to attend weekly meetings with other sex offenders.

Philip says sexting “ruined a big part of my life and it’s going to be ruining my life for a very long time.”


Ask: Why might Jesse have sent nude photos of herself to her boyfriend?

Say: Anytime we send anything electronically, it has the potential to be forwarded to others. Even if you delete an image immediately after a few seconds, once it’s sent electronically, it’s captured in cyberspace. It’s virtually impossible to ensure that an image is ever completely deleted. You can never really control where and/or when it may reappear because others still have access to it. Even if you send an image without a head or face, your picture can be linked to you through various means such as your email address, computer IP address, etc.

Ask: What effect did sexting have on Jesse?

Say: Teens still receive a significant sense of self-worth from peers. When teens feel rejected by their peers, the effect can be devastating emotionally.

Ask: What did Philip do wrong?

Say: The laws vary from state to state, but depending on where you live, criminal charges may be placed on the creator, sender, recipient and/or saver of material deemed “child pornography” — i.e. Sexually explicit photos of minors.

Ask: What were the consequences to Philip forwarding nude pictures to friends?

Say: There are potential legal consequences for teens involved in sexting that can significantly affect our futures.

Say: Now let’s look at how building the character trait of “courage” can help you stick with your beliefs and boundaries when faced with various types of peer pressure.