“As technology evolves and children are getting iPhones at younger ages, it’s important that our education curriculum evolves to address problems that can arise from this,” said Carroll. “What two teenagers may perceive as innocent flirting can have very serious long-term consequences. We also have to be diligent about addressing situations where images are shared without consent, or children receive sexual images without meaning to.”
According to a study published in ‘JAMA Pediatrics,’ as many as one in seven children between the ages of 12 and 17 has sent sexts, and approximately one in four has received them. Carroll is backing House Bill 4007, under which sex education classes must include an age-appropriate discussion on sexting, including the possible consequences of sexting, the importance of using social media and the internet safely, how to resist peer pressure and who to contact for assistance with issues, concerns or problems related to sexting.
“There are all sorts of issues and risks associated with tennagers sexting—sexts being forwarded over and over, sexts being used to bully or blackmail, or to pressure someone into participating in something that makes them feel uncomfortable,” said Carroll. “This legislation will help ensure teenagers are aware of the consequences before making a decision about sharing images of themselves or other people.”