Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A "Weinergate" teaching moment

I would like to thank Congressman Weiner for helping us to open a discussion with our teens about the dangers of sexting.  Its hard enough to say to your teen "don't send or post pictures of your bulging penis/sexy body on your cellphone or facebook, it could get you in trouble. " Most likely your son/daughter will look at you with that blank stare that communicates "I don't want to talk to you about this, and everybody does it and its no big deal." But thanks to Mr Weiner, we now have the actual bulging penis picture plastered all over national television and I'm sure by the end of the week, People Magazine. Perfect!

There couldn't be a better teaching moment. Here is a well-respected, smart man who is now the laughing stock of our country. He has lost the respect of his colleagues, his constituents, his family and his friends. He may possibly even lose his job. And honestly, the pictures weren't even that bad, he wasn't posing naked, just manly. We don't have the content of the sexting messages that were sent, thank god, but we know they existed. But when these pictures and sexting messages get into the wrong hands of people who are mad at you, want to expose you, get back at you, or just don't like you, they can wreak havoc and potentially ruin your life. See Weiner, Schwarznegger,  and Tiger Woods. These are pretty convincing cases in point.

Show the pictures of this bulging penis, and talk about the consequences of this seemingly benign photo to your teen. Using an I Get It moment you can say: " I get this guy was just having fun, and obviously not worried about the potential of future harm. Boy, I bet he was surprised. What a turn his life is taking. How sad that such a talented smart guy, who really loves his country and wants to serve it, will be taken down by a picture. I know this seems pretty removed from your life, but it isn't. Anything you send on your phone and on your facebook is public. If you choose to put up racy things, or unkind things, they could come back to haunt you too. Coaches, colleges, employers, friends, and parents are all potential audiences. Is it so much fun that you would risk it all? Ask Mr Weiner.

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