Reporter wants your help: What’s up with the teen nude selfies?

The AJC is following an investigation of  nude photos of Gwinnett County high school girls being posted on social media sites, and they want your input on this phenomenon. Here’s what’s happening in the investigation thus far:

“The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into who is responsible for posting racy and nude photos of several Gwinnett County high school girls on social media outlets.

The postings were removed by authorities, but because the subjects are underage, anyone who posted or distributed the photos could be charged with distributing child pornography, a felony that carries a potential 20-year prison sentence.

The incident, which occurred last week, is the latest in a growing trend of young people having explicit photos of themselves – intentionally or otherwise – posted online for the world to see, experts and law enforcement officials say.

“The problem is once these photos are out there they can show up anywhere,” said former DeKalb County District Attorney J. Tom Morgan said. “We’ve seen pictures show up on Internet porn sites in other countries and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.”

Officials shut down the site, which featured more than a dozen girls from area schools including Shiloh, Parkview, Collins Hill, Duluth and Peachtree Ridge.”

Reporter Gracie Bond Staples is examining the psychological and social side of this story. She wants to know from you:  What is it about social media culture that makes teenage girls think it’s OK for them to take nude pictures of themselves and send it to their boyfriends? Is this a matter of bad parenting, no parenting or has our society changed so much that we lack the capacity to judge between what’s acceptable for privacy and what isn’t? To weigh in on the discussion, please email your comments to gstaples@ajc.com.

My questions is: If underage people are circulation nude photos of themselves or other teenagers what should the repercussions be? We learned from the story that anyone who posted or distributed the photos could be charged with distributing child pornography, a felony that carries a potential 20-year prison sentence. Is that a reasonable punishment for teenagers — whose brains are not fully developed and therefore do STUPID and impulsive things?


53 comments Add your comment

T.S.

December 19th, 2013
5:48 am

High school is certainly a good time to start growing up. There are many crimes juveniles can be waived into adult court for. And of course you know the “actual” punishment won’t be a 20 year prison sentence except for the most egregious cases of child pornography. Child pornography, calling in bomb threats, assault, etc. have to be treated seriously even if the perpetrator is under 18.

catlady

December 19th, 2013
6:59 am

“Our kids” are mirroring the self-important, rude, narcissistic, self-indulgent, licentious behavior of their parents!

Kat

December 19th, 2013
7:04 am

If you’ve posted children’s pictures on the Internet in every conceivable mode of dress (baby clothes, tweens, bikini pictures, etc), they are just taking it one step further in order to be noticed. Plus, teens don’t understand what “forever” means.

Mayhem

December 19th, 2013
7:34 am

So, a guy gets a nude selfie of his girlfriend, and sends it to a buddy. And for that he gets 20 years in prison? What a crock! Our judicial systems needs a MAJOR overhaul.

Ed

December 19th, 2013
7:46 am

Watching adults post every fart that happens in their life on Facebook is disturbing and sets a poor example for their offspring.

Atlanta Mom

December 19th, 2013
8:16 am

Please keep in mind, not all of these photos showing up on the internet are selfies. Some are photoshopped and the girls had nothing to do with their heads showing up on naked bodies.

what catlady said

December 19th, 2013
8:36 am

Our kids” are mirroring the self-important, rude, narcissistic, self-indulgent, licentious behavior of their parents!

Her comment is worth repeating!

Let’s not forget that parents have the “not my precious child” syndrome.

Hidden Agenda

December 19th, 2013
8:39 am

Two words – Kim Kardashian.

Someone who knows

December 19th, 2013
8:48 am

The parents do not know how to communicate with their children to stress the importance of making smart choices.

Also the kids are idiots. I have had many of girlfriends who refused to send me nude photos or send me nude photos with their heads cropped out “just in case.” So why aren’t these young ladies smart enough to do the same?

motherjanegoose

December 19th, 2013
10:00 am

@ catlady^^^^ LIKE.

Maude

December 19th, 2013
10:39 am

I have a problem with all selfies. I have never saw one that looked good. I am always is shock that the person would share it with anyone.

Maude

December 19th, 2013
10:42 am

Passing on a nude picture should be a crime at any age. Maybe the punishment lighter for a teen.

Grumpster

December 19th, 2013
10:52 am

I’ll play devil’s advocate here.

I’ve known lots of grownups who posted selfies before they were called selfies. It’s just one more form of sexual expression. Who gets hurt? And how is that expression any business of a bunch of finger wagging, prune faced, disapproving prudes?

Maybe, just maybe the younger folks have started to figure out they look good and are reasonably proud of that fact. Couple that with the positive reinforcement from the boyfriend/girlfriend (”WOW!! You look soooooooo hot!”) and it becomes easy to walk in their shoes and understand their actions.

And if some unknown person gets an eyefull… so what?

Grumpster

December 19th, 2013
10:54 am

Maybe I really am a child of the sixties :)

Denise

December 19th, 2013
10:58 am

Maude, I agree with you. Passing on a nude picture should be illegal.

xxx

December 19th, 2013
11:14 am

@Denise, are you serious? Just Wow. I can’t fathom living with a mindset like that. Why are you so afarid of the human body?

I think this is a case more about poor choices than it is love of nudity. Teens don’t necessarliy love being nude anymore than anyone lese, they just lack the judgement of when it’s appropriate, and that comes from the parents or lack there of.

justmy2cents

December 19th, 2013
11:25 am

Child pornography is child pornography if the kids are underage. This issue has been in the news enough for kids to know it is illegal and a felony. If they are stupid enough to take the pics, and send them out, and think for a SECOND their bf/gf isn’t going to forward and share it with other people, they are idiots and have earned their punishment. My husband and I have repeatedly talked about this with our teenager, and how not thinking things through can totally ruin your life with one stupid mistake.

Part of the problem...

December 19th, 2013
11:28 am

…I was flipping channels last night and watched some of the iHEARTJingleJam from NYC. There was ‘ol Miley singing, and EVERY teenage girl the camera focused on (and there were a lot of them) during the song knew every word to the song.

Hence, though Miley was relatively non provocative (at least during the her first song, though her and her back-up singers outfits were quite revealing) I can’t help but think back to the topic on this site after her “performance” with Robin Thicke during a previous music show – maybe the girls at these schools are just further emulating what they perceive to be acceptable behavior since, after all, Miley (and others) sing songs and get all provocative and that appears to be OK, I mean, it IS on national TV, so why not take it to the next level on their “seemingly” personal level?

My 60’s and 70’s mentality somewhat cannot understand this behavior, until I step back and remember that I knew the words to most every song played on the radio back then (and still do sing along when I hear them now), and then remember all the “dumb stuff” (sex, drugs and rock n roll) that went on back then, fortunately, without the “public forums” that are prevalent today, and then remember that all generations have their “what were we thinking – or not thinking” – moments…

Sid

December 19th, 2013
11:30 am

I’m w/Maude – passing on the picture should be a crime but not land someone on the “registry”!

I may be in the minority but I don’t think it should be illegal (though certainly discouraged by parents) to make/send a photo to a boy/girlfriend as long as it’s not forwarded on. calling it “kiddie porn” is a thermonuclear over reaction that dilutes the severity of the real thing!

FCM

December 19th, 2013
11:37 am

Ashley Greene, Vanessa Hudgins, Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus……many of them post for the publicity. And yes the kids see these folks are doing it and think why not? Where is all the backlash on those?

Truth Paste

December 19th, 2013
12:38 pm

I’ll play devil’s advocate here … I’ve known lots of grownups who posted selfies before they were called selfies. It’s just one more form of sexual expression. Who gets hurt? And how is that expression any business of a bunch of finger wagging, prune faced, disapproving prudes?

=====================================

Actually your comments show you are playing the devil, not just his advocate.

Your opinions are judgemental against GOOD people, so why should you not reap the consequences for your BAD behavior? Tolerance is a two way street. If we have to deal with how your BAD behavior is destroying society, then you should be able to handle a few judgemental comments.

Too many people (adults and children) seem to want “a pass” when they are finally the one that gets in trouble. ADULT actions require adult CONSEQUENCES … or atleast they SHOULD. This is the reason our society is headed towards destruction.

Since you are part of the PROBLEM, you cannot be part of the solution.

J

December 19th, 2013
1:54 pm

A lot of different factors come into play here, some already mentioned. My two cents is this: Our “selfie” society has ensured that most kids have essentially had their lives documented in pictures online. When your parents are constantly taking pictures of you and themselves doing things as mundane as going to the grocery store or movies, it feeds into the narcissistic side of children and they naturally repeat this pattern. Also, although our technology capabilities have grown by leaps and bounds in a relatively short span of time, our brains have not. Teenagers, even intelligent and normally well-behaved ones, are still teenagers. Their brains simply cannot comprehend the long-term repercussions of impulsive decisions. Combine this with their need and want to be accepted and it can have disastrous results.

Grumpster

December 19th, 2013
2:11 pm

@Truth Paste December 19th, 2013 12:38 pm

Your opinions are judgemental against GOOD people, so why should you not reap the consequences for your BAD behavior?
———————————————————————————————————
Who are you to judge what’s good or bad? Did I miss the memo that appointed you Moses?

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

If folks — any folks — want to engage in behavior that is not measurably, demonstrably harmful to other folks, then that is their privelege. There should be NO consequences.

By the way.. for all you know, I’ve been put on earth to judge you.

FCM

December 19th, 2013
3:04 pm

In support of Truth Paste: The day is coming when the world is going to stand before a jury made up of followers of Jesus. If someday you are going to rule on the world’s fate, wouldn’t it be a good idea to practice on some of these smaller cases? So why not these everyday affairs? As these disagreements and wrongs surface, why would you ever entrust them to the judgment of people you don’t trust in any other way?

I Corinthians 6

I am guessing that is where you found authority to judge?

Grumpster

December 19th, 2013
3:24 pm

@FCM December 19th, 2013 3:04 pm

…The day is coming when the world is going to stand before a jury made up of followers of Jesus.
—————————————————————————————————————————–
Maybe.. or maybe the followers of Allah or the followers of Yahweh or Odin or any of the many others folks claim to be the One. Or maybe not… you may believe, but you don’t know and neither does anyone else.

I am respectful of your beliefs and your right to believe as you choose, but don’t try to force your beliefs on me.

And again.. for all anyone knows, I’ve been sent back to kick the “moneylenders” out of the temple.. and I am just gathering the names of the televangelists before I start.

Or maybe I’m just someone who minds my own business and expects others to do the same.

FCM

December 19th, 2013
3:46 pm

@ Grumpster If you really were someone who was minding their own business you would not be posting your opinion to an open forum.

Grumpster

December 19th, 2013
4:09 pm

@FCM Minding my own business doesn’t mean being a doormat for any loudmouth with an opinion. Too often folks think silence means agreement.

At this point, I will probably shut up. I’ve made my point.

Real Life

December 19th, 2013
5:07 pm

We have, as a society, willingly given up much of our privacy. People of all ages tell intimate details of their lives which we should not know anything about. We see “celebrities” get a huge boost in their careers with porn videos and nude pictures. So it is not a huge surprise to see something like this problem with the nude pictures of these teens. Why is this more common among teens? It might be parents not setting clear boundaries for their under-age kids and not checking their on-line activities. Yes teens have some rights to privacy but parents have a duty to ensure their kids are safe and not crossing a well-marked line. And again it might be the kids who often think they are invincible at that age. As a former high school teacher I saw teens several times have to come to grips with reality–drunk driving deaths in particular–that they did not think would happen to anyone they knew. And finally many of us are too trusting. So you send a photo to your boyfriend or girlfriend. That person might forward it to someone who cannot resist posting it. Or the relationship ended badly and posting the photo is revenge. Or someone left their device open with no password protection and someone else tool advantage of that. There are endless ways these photos end up on line.
And should people posting and forwarding photos of those they either know or should know are underage be prosecuted for child pornography? Yes they should. Age is not an excuse. Whoever posted the photos knew it was wrong and those forwarding them also know it is wrong. The law applies to all.
And I wish I could have sympathy for the girls but I cannot. Sending nude photos of yourself over the internet to anyone is just plain dumb. Taking them is not smart but sending them is even worse. And again, age is not an excuse.

@ Grumpster

December 19th, 2013
5:16 pm

Yes, you made your point. You are just as judgemental, intolerant and hateful of those that you accuse of doing the same. Your bad decisions have and affect on more people than you realize. This entitlement attitude you have has a domino effect that eventually touches those around you. Bad apples spoil the whole bunch this day and age. Technology is progressing at a rapid pace as we humans are regressing like a trainwreck.

“Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

You can judge me all you want. Good look with finding any faults or sins that are as monumentous as yours! ;)

catlady

December 19th, 2013
5:22 pm

Theresa, you need to proof more carefully. “The questions is…” “If underage people are circulation…”

catlady

December 19th, 2013
5:29 pm

@Grumpster, where did you find a rating of sins from worst to not so bad? Sin is sin. Period. No “more momentous” delineations.

Just Sayin'

December 19th, 2013
6:01 pm

A mistake is when you pour orange juice on your cereal in the morning. Taking nude selfies is not a mistake. Revenge on your girlfriend and porn sharing is no mistake either. Teens are not children they are young adults.

There is nothing social about social media, in fact it is anti-social.

@ Grumpster

December 19th, 2013
6:13 pm

@ cat lady, I never said I sinned. Sorry but me passing judgement on someone that takes nude photos of themselves are not equal. Committing murder is a sin and so is petty theft, so you actually believe murderers and common thieves are in the same momentous delineations?

DB

December 19th, 2013
7:11 pm

I wish I knew why they did it. It’s an amazingly stupid thing to do, but then again, most teenagers have done something amazingly stupid at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, ‘back in the day’, their amazingly stupid antics generally weren’t documented until the end of time as they are now. There is no such thing as “privacy” — kids need to get that through their head.

Nude selfies. Ugh. Just the idea that some pimply-faced guy in Bosnia is salivating over a porn site and jerking off to a picture of a stupid 15 year old who sent a selfie to her BF is skin-crawlingly gross.

When we were living in China this summer, I was fascinated by the number of Chinese girls who constantly took selfies — at major historical landmarks, out comes the phone, tilt the head juuuust right, BIG smile – “click”. Hmm, no, that wasn’t a good one — try it again. Tile the head just a bit more, adjust the photo . . . talk about narcissistic. When did it become de rigueur to be in every single holiday photo? Why can’t you just take a picture of a stupid building and be done with it? I have a niece that I had to block on FB because the girl posted selfies of herself EVERY SINGLE DAMN DAY. New outfit, new selfie — pose in the bathroom picture, big smile, toss of the head just right . . . at her dad’s birthday party, all of her pictures were selfies with her friends. I asked her if there were any pictures of her dad from the party, and she gave me a blank look, like “Why would I take a picture of him?” Clueless . . .

catlady

December 19th, 2013
8:06 pm

I think there is a difference, that some things are worse than others; however, I am not sure the Bible lists them as the bad,badder, and baddest. The verses I am familiar with delineates only sin, not differing levels. But I will study on it.

Democrat Man

December 20th, 2013
6:20 am

This is all the fault of George Bush!

kb

December 20th, 2013
7:51 am

Why aren’t the schools listed in alphabetical order? Is there a racist tinge to having Duluth and Peachtree Ridge listed last?

Mom of 3

December 20th, 2013
8:31 am

Hey, catlady. I appreciate your willingness to look into this issue. Although I no longer recall the specific scriptures, it is true that different sins carry different weight(but there is no “list” in scripture, the issue is clarified in other ways). Christian author, Randy Alcorn, speaks to this very well on his blog. A good way to think of it is that all sin equally condemned Jesus to the cross, but all sin is not equal. Clearly, stealing a pack of gum from the store when you are 10 is not the same as killing someone.

BW

December 20th, 2013
9:29 am

“Why aren’t the schools listed in alphabetical order? Is there a racist tinge to having Duluth and Peachtree Ridge listed last?”

vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

The sad thing is almost every HS in GCPS is involved in this scandal. This list doesn’t even mention one of the biggest schools involved.

This is way beyond just being controversial, it is a scandal of epic proportions that is going to have a lasting effect of the lives of these young people. Common sense is not so common anymore.

Denise

December 20th, 2013
10:05 am

@xxx – I am serious but I think I missed a few words….I think passing around nude pictures that were sent to you personally as PERSONAL PRIVATE PICTURES should be illegal. I’m definitely no prude. I’ve taken and sent plenty o’ sexy selfies to my boyfriend but I would want it to be illegal for him to publish them without my consent. Another reason I never have my face in them unless they are just lingerie shots. Someone seeing me in my bra and panties…don’t really WANT that but it’s better than my bare butt, right?

As for the topic, kids now, I think, have no sense of consequences. I agree with someone who said Kim Kardashian. She, Paris Hilton, and Superhead have made it pretty much “cool” to have sex tapes/videos. Nude picture is only one step down from a video. No biggie. What happened to Kim from her sex tape? Fame. Paris Hilton? Nothing negative. Superhead? Books and more notoriety. What kid doesn’t want fame and notoriety? They just don’t understand that this is not the best way to get it.

Could it be parenting? Maybe. But at a certain age, kids start deciding for themselves. They know right and wrong and decide. Sometimes it’s somewhere in the middle. What can we do? I don’t know. I read this so I can learn what you all already know. :-)

Denise

December 20th, 2013
10:15 am

@DB – I have a Soror (and ADULT in her 30s) who posts a picture of herself in almost EVERY one of her Facebook posts…as if we don’t know who she is by her name and profile picture. I asked a mutual friend and she said that this Soror lost a lot of weight recently and was proud of herself. Great but… how many pictures DO YOU HAVE of yourself that you can post numerous photos a day? I stopped reading her posts. And I have a younger cousin that takes plenty o’ selfies just ’cause to show us she’s pretty. She is beautiful but you know…we still remember how beautiful you looked in the 3 pics you posted YESTERDAY. Geez! I love camera phones and I love that we can post pics on FB (that’s how I see my old friends’ families) but good grief…EVERYDAY? In the grocery store? In the mall? How about on your way to CLASS or the LIBRARY? Never see those.

beth

December 20th, 2013
1:22 pm

I can’t understand why so many don’t understand the nude selfie… because to me it seems obvious. Our society tells us that showing off your body/nudity for public consumption is cool and there are very little if any negative consequences from it. In fact, it’s the oppiste… for many, there is fame and fortune to be gained. From the plethora of sex tapes, to Victoria Secret commercials and prime time specials, to pop stars like Rihanna who are always posting nearly nude pics of themselves… Young people are consuming this every single day, multiple times and in multiple formats…. So it’s not a stretch to see how a 16 or 17 year old would think it’s totally normal to do this.

I personally think parents would be shocked at the number of young college students who are making sex tapes and uploading them to “amateur porn” sites themselves. And I don’t mean as revenge, I mean as a couple choosing to do this.

Shark Punch!

December 20th, 2013
4:10 pm

If you give your children the love/attention they need, your children will be less inclined to seek that love/attention from strangers on the internet.

bruble

December 20th, 2013
4:27 pm

I think that the repressive adult society of everyone has to do things my way should lighten up and get a grip before we take all the fun out of life. Just hoping we haven’t already.

Justin

December 21st, 2013
1:23 pm

Ho’s gon’ Ho

LeeH1

December 21st, 2013
5:28 pm

Kids are facing new challenges today. In the past, experimenting with cigarettes or beer did not affect the rest of your life. Now they can experiment with things that can destroy their lives and careers before they are old enough to understand the consequences.

This is one of them. anyone contemplating running for public office in 20 years may face a 20 year old photo of their nude self coming out in discussions about their suitability for office.

Basically, there is no way to stop this process until the kids see enough damage to tell each other to stop doing this. Regretfully, this won’t happen for another few years. For the moment, they don’t see the consequences. When they do, they will stop. Until then, it is a teen fad.

Patricia

December 22nd, 2013
3:59 pm

We were at a Japanese steakhouse the other night. You know, the habachi grill, the acrobatic chef, very entertaining. Across from me was a man, wife, cute little boy. The mother had her table out and was doing something that kept her attention the whole time. When the little boy tried to hug her, she scolded him and pushed him away. He turned his attention to his dad who gave him a hug, then started texting on his phone. At another grill, most of the patrons had a phone in their hands.

Why bother going?

Patricia

December 22nd, 2013
3:59 pm

make that “The mother had her TABLET out….sheesh

joey

December 23rd, 2013
7:36 am

I have some nude selfies, anybody want em? I’m gittin tired of paying sites to post em!!!!

FRegistryTerrorists

December 23rd, 2013
8:45 am

My family is listed on a nanny big government Sex Offender Registry. I know most of you uninformed, un-American morons love your Registries but I can tell you categorically that they are idiotic social policy. They protect no one and lead to increased sex crimes, among a huge array of other problems. I also know that the people who zealously support the Registries don’t care that they don’t work. Had to throw that out there though.

Because the Registries exist and only because of that, I spend as much time as possible around all kinds of people who will never know that I am Registered. I go out of my way to spend time around random children. Because that is exactly what the immoral Registries deserve.

I pray that you people who support the Registries have a terrible holiday season and burn in hell soon. God bless you.

P.S. Where are the rest of the Registries? Do we love nanny big government or not?