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In the fall of 2015, a quiet, small town was sent into shock. The authorities in Canon City,  Colorado, revealed that a “large sexting ring” of about 100 students were circulating anywhere between 300 to 400 nude photographs of themselves and other students. Some of the leaders of this ring were boys on the football team. They were forced to forfeit their last game of the season. In May of 2015, several students were found to have a similar “sexting ring” in Newtown, Connecticut. However, instead of just not playing a football game, 5 of the boys were arrested and 20 others were referred to a juvenile review board in February of 2016 after a long investigation. These are only two of the most recent cases of widespread sexting among adolescents and its consequences. These stories fail to explore the deep hurt, self-loathing, and distress these types of sexting rings put children and their families through. Even more than all of that, what does God think about all of this? This paper will seek to define and clarify what sexting is and its legal consequences, reveal what God’s Word has to say about all parties involved, and help parents, youth workers, and counselors seek a path for counseling teens through sexting tragedies.

What is Sexting?

Anyone who stayed up late enough watching television just a few years ago would likely see a commercial for a phone number that would connect them to a woman, who would then proceed to “talk dirty” to the caller. Those have been around for years. A new version of this idea is seen in sexting. “Sexting” is a word play on “text” and “sex” by combining the two words. It can be defined as “the exchange of sexually explicit messages or photographs (nude or semi-nude pictures) electronically, most commonly through mobile phones and social networking sites.” This definition should also include videos, as videos can be shared live (Skype, Periscope) or recorded (phone video camera, Snapchat). This definition is quite broad, but it needs to be because sexting is changing in specifics with each new app that comes out on the market. Fifteen years ago, sexting could be done via cell phone, but social media was not even popular then. Since then, social media has changed language, behaviors, and whole cultures. So this definition is meant to be broad to try to stay in front of the changing digital world.

Sexting is a Widespread Problem

The University of Texas has done the most extensive, recent research on sexting. Their research focused on the association between dating, sex, and sexting. From their study of teenagers ages 14-19 over a three year time span, over 27% have sent a sext. Girls were highly more likely (68.4%) than boys (42.1%) to be asked to send a sext. Far more girls were bothered by this request, 27% said they were “bothered a great deal” by being asked. Only 3% of boys said they were “bothered a great deal.” The association between “all sexting behaviors and all dating, sex, and risky sex behaviors” seemed to be high on both sides. Of the girls who have sent sexts, 77.4% have had sex as well, 55.8% have had multiple partners in the past year, and 39.8 have done alcohol and/or drugs. Of the boys who have sent sexts, 81.8% have had sex, 51.7% have had multiple partners in the past year, and 37.5 have done alcohol and/or drugs. These statistics reveal that there is usually more going on in a teenagers life that just sexting. It is most likely only a part of the problem.

Other previous studies that have been done are just as telling. Though a few years old, it is likely that the numbers have only gone up since their research. In a poll taken by MTV and AP on digital abuse (which includes the spreading of photos and videos sent via sext), 76% say that it is a serious problem. Despite that, only 51% have ever thought about the possibility that the things they post online could come back to hurt them later, and only 25% have ever thought about getting in trouble with police. In a Pew Internet and American Life look into sexting, they talked with focus groups about the attitude of sexting among teens. The answers were quite diverse, but here are some of them:

“No, [it’s not a big deal] we are not having sex, we are sexting,” wrote one 9th/10th grade boy. “It’s not against my religion or anything.” Another younger high school boy added: “Most people are too shy to have sex. Sexting is not as bad.” Another high school boy wrote “I know people think [sexting] is dangerous, but to me, it’s no big deal because I get them a lot.” I think it’s fairly common in my school for people to do this. They see it as a way of flirting that may possibly lead to more for them.” One high school boy wrote that sexting happens a lot “because if someone is going out wit[h] a hot girl and she sends him a message with a picture, then everyone wants to see it.” A younger high school girl wrote, “Yes, [sexting is pretty common] cuz some of my friends do it. [But it’s] no big deal I would let my mom see if she wanted.” “I think it’s fairly common in my school for people to do this. They see it as a way of flirting that may possibly lead to more for them.” One high school boy wrote that sexting happens a lot “because if someone is going out wit[h] a hot girl and she sends him a message with a picture, then everyone wants to see it.” A younger high school girl wrote, “Yes, [sexting is pretty common] cuz some of my friends do it. [But it’s] no big deal I would let my mom see if she wanted.”Another girl in the same focus group wrote, “yeah, it happens a lot, my friends do it all the time, but its not a big deal.”

These are some incredibly honest and honestly shocking statements. Does the statement, “[sexting] is not a big deal” generally ring true for the teenage population? If so, what actions can be done to reverse this ideology?

Sexting is Illegal

For minors, particular types of sexting are illegal. Simply sending text messages are not illegal but sending photos and videos are. Possessing a photo or video of a minor is a crime no matter what state it happens in. Distribution is a crime no matter where it happens at. Promoting, coercing, or soliciting are crimes no matter what the intentions were. Some states have special laws that seek to protect teenage, first time offenders, but others only have default child pornography laws which are much more harsh. In the state of Alabama, no special protection laws exist for teenagers. They could spend up to twenty years in jail, pay up to $30,000 worth of fines, and be registered as a sex offender the rest of their lives. This can obviously prove to be completely destructive to young lives caught up in a frenzy of peer pressure.

Many teenagers fail understand what they are doing is illegal. If the teenager forwards a photo of someone to someone else, that is a criminal offense. Even if that picture is deleted from the sender’s phone, it is still illegal. This is the case even in instances of the sender sending photos of him or herself. Teenagers seem to believe that it is acceptable to send pictures of themselves to others because it is consensual. Consent is not the end all virtue when it comes to sex and sexual relationships. If anyone has an offensive image or video of a minor on their phone, it is illegal and punishable by whatever the state’s laws are.

Sexting is Emotionally Hurtful

In the late 80’s on into the early 2000’s, DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) was in a large majority of schools around the nation. This program taught kids to “Just Say No to Drugs” by showing the harmful effects of drugs and attempting to boost the kids’ self esteem. Study after study was done on the program, and all the results came back the same: DARE simply did not work. So telling teenagers “Just Say No to Sexting” and exposing them to the legal dangers of it most likely will not work either. All of that should be done, but one should not expect that alone to change someone’s heart on sexting.

Jesse Logan was an eighteen year old girl who sent “harmless” sexts to her boyfriend. When they broke up, he sent pictures of her to hundreds of other people he knew. She began to receive all kinds of abuse and bullying for the pictures. “Slut” and “whore” began to cover every device she had. She committed suicide in July 2008. This was the first known suicide associated with sexting. The second was a girl named Hope Witsell. She was thirteen years old and sent a picture of her breasts to her boyfriend. Another girl from school got a hold of it and sent the picture out to other students from six different local schools. There were webpages created for the sole sake of bullying her for the pictures. She committed suicide in September of 2009. These are only the beginning of a long line of young boys and girls who committed suicide due to the vitality of their sexts and the bullying that went along with it.

Research from the Education Development Center in Newton, Massachusetts, found that teenagers who sext are most likely to deal with suicidal thoughts and depressive symptoms. Many of these cases deal with the fact that people other than the desired recipient received the sext. Teens tend to send pictures of themselves to others in hope of getting compliments. Their self-esteem is low, and that is how they could have a boost. Then the sext gets out, and their self-esteem plummets all over again. The social ostracization, the subsequent guilt and shame, the legal consequences, and the all around emotional toll that sexting leads to is simply not worth it.

What Does God Have to Say about Sexting?

Over the past two millennia, people (some with good intentions, some not) have twisted Scripture to fit their own agenda. The purpose of this section is not to twist Scripture to make sexting look sinful, but to look at the principles and intentions behind sexting to see what God thinks of it. The Word of God is the only way Christians can know what God thinks about a subject, so that must be where the foundation of understanding sexting is found.

Love

Getting caught up in deep theological debates tends to happen to the common seminarian. Sometimes, defending a theological stance can become of utmost importance. For pastors, the prime target may be having a particular discipleship program or being a certain type of preacher. Secondary topics often become primary. When a Pharisee, who was also a lawyer, asked Jesus about what was primary, he answered in Matthew 22:37-40: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” No matter what, love is primary.

So what does love have to do with sexting? It is more of a lack of love. When teenagers (or any unmarried couple) sext, they are “loving” sexual arousal more than God. They may want the glory that comes from man by showing the picture off to some friends rather than the glory that comes from God. Also, sexting is not loving “your neighbor as yourself.” It is potentially destructive to the other and therefore unloving. For someone to be loving God and neighbor totally, a resisting of temptation would occur.

Sexual Immorality

Baker’s Dictionary of Biblical Theology defines sexual immorality as “Interpersonal activity involving sex organs that does not conform to God’s revealed lawsgoverning sexuality.” Kevin DeYoung describes it this way in The Hole in Our Holiness: “The simplest way to understand porneia (Greek word translated as ‘sexual immorality’) is to think about the things that would make you furious and heartbroken if you found out someone was doing them with your husband or your wife.” DeYoung’s description hits home and seems more appropriate in this day and age. If one works from a definition that limits sexual immorality to actual physical touching, then there are thousands of ways people can get around that now. Sexting would just be another form of communication. However, sexting is a fantastical way of having sex. It is imaginary, on par with virtual pornography. Therefore, it is sexual immorality.

The Bible is filled with verse about and related to sexual immorality. The most relevant to this paper is 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.” Sexting is the opposite of the will God/sanctification. It feeds “the passion of lust” not controls it. It is a losing of control over the body. It is an opposite of holiness and honor.

Lust

Jesus was serious about lust. In Matthew 5:27-29, he said,

You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.

Jesus knows the eternal impact lust can have on a soul. Lust causes sexting and sexting causes lust. It becomes a never-ending cycle. Teen “A” sees teen “B.” “A” fails to suppress thoughts of  “B.” These thoughts turn into lust. Now, every time “A” sees “B” lustful thoughts occur. Soon, they begin innocently talking to one another over text. “A” repeatedly compliments “B” which boosts self-esteem in each. “A” begins to ask for regular pictures of “B.” “B” agrees because there is no harm in that. After a few pictures sent back and forth, clothes begin disappearing. Promises of secrecy are being made. Then, “B” sends the picture “A” was wanting to see all along. Lust just hit another level. All throughout and even beyond this scenario, lust is working in it all.

Selfish Gain

Selfish gain is condemned consistently throughout the Bible. One of the strongest exhortations to not be selfish is in Philippians 2:3-5, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” Paul uses Jesus’ nature the argue for selflessness. The God-man chose to be selfless throughout his life, even to the point of death. If he can be selfless to the point of death, Christians can be selfless to the point of not forwarding nude pictures of other people. Selfish gain can be most clearly seen in the forwarding and showing off of sexts to others to whom they were not intended. Teenagers typically view nude photos or videos of others as a form of currency. They will trade them and even sell them. They take the vulnerability of another and turn it into bragging rights and cash. This is not counting others as more significant; this is looking only to one’s own interests.

Grace

If the past few paragraphs were all the Bible had to say to a sexter, then they would be hopeless. The beautiful truth is “no one is hopeless.” The Gospel is the only hope for anyone. Sexting has far less earthly consequences than many other sins, so it could be said that sexting is not the “worst” sin. There is grace for the sexter. There is grace for the one who asks for sexts. There is grace for those who send them, even to those who do not want them. There is grace for those who forward them around and bully the girl or boy about it.

Jesus died so anyone who believes in Him may receive this grace and be cleansed of all their sin. No sin can take someone too far from God’s grace. If God’s love was based on good or bad deeds, then there would have been no need for Jesus to die a substitutionary death in the first place. All of the previously mentioned sins associated with sexting are 100% forgivable by God and should be forgivable by others as well. No one should feel as though they have fallen too far away to receive God’s grace. The prodigal son was so far away from his father that he was working in pig slop just wanting to eat some of it. However, when the son “came to himself” he came back. The picture of the father hugging him, giving him the best robe and shoes, and throwing a party to celebrate his return is the picture of any sexter who repents and acknowledges that God is infinitely better than momentary satisfaction.

How Should Sexters Be Counseled?

Sexting has become so commonplace that any adult that is around teenagers will most likely have to have some sort of discussion about it. These discussions will usually be a formal or informal counseling session whether the adult realizes it or not. So now that sexting has been clearly defined and God’s Word has been examined on the subject, counseling tips must now be laid out. In Josh McDowell’s Handbook on Counseling Youth, he uses the L.E.A.D.E.R. method for addressing every issue that he includes in the book. It requires listening, empathizing, affirming, directing, enlisting, and affirming. He does not deal specifically with sexting in his book, so what follows is simply using his method. The method is in no particular order but seeks to give a broad and firm foundation on how to handle any issue.

Listen

Adults over the age of thirty missed their teenage years with picture phones. Now days, elementary school kids have smartphones. The world is literally at their fingertips, and so is many temptations. This is not to say that the past generations have not dealt with sexual temptation, but this is something new for older adults. Sexting is a fairly new development that needs to be understood by someone who has never had the specific temptation. If an adult is counseling a teenager about sexting, the adult must first listen to the teenager. He or she may talk about a myriad of different aspects of the situation, however, listening is possibly the most important part of counseling. While listening, the adult should be paying careful attention to how the teen describes the situation. The adult needs to take note of blame-shifting, signs of bullying reasons why it took place, what the teen thinks about the other teen or teens involved, how they view God and His involvement in the situation, their view of themselves, or any other triggers that may need to be addressed within the session or beyond.

Empathize

Empathizing over a missed car bill or a sleepless night because of a newborn may seem easier for some adults than empathizing over sexting. For the teenager, the situation is real and is really affecting their lives. Sexting never just involves sexting. There are relationship issues with a significant other, friends and/or parents; there are self-esteem issues; there are commonly bullying and suicidal thoughts; there is ultimately a weak relationship with the God of the universe. So just asking an adult to empathize with sexting may make them scoff and make them want to tell the teen, “Just get over it, kid!” The issues are much deeper than what they seem. So if the adult cannot empathize with the specific sin of sext, an effort to empathize with all the other baggage that comes along with it must be made.

Affirm

Teenagers are turned away from adults who continual condemn everything they do. Yes, sexting is wrong, so the action should be condemned and not the person. Affirming the teens assures them that they are still loved yet they know where the adult stands on the issue. Josh McDowell addresses pornography in his counseling book, and since the principles of pornography are closely relating to sexting (more on this later), his ideas of affirmation prove to be quite helpful:

Gently lead him or her to confession and repentance of past sin, being careful to let the Holy Spirit (not you) convict of sin. Help the young person receive and acknowledge God’s love and forgiveness. Consistently affirm your acceptance of and love for the youth clearly, verbally. Guide the youth to understand that God loves—and delights in—him or her. (See Ps. 18:19.) Reinforce the young person’s positive traits and abilities (“I appreciate your spiritual sensitivity,” “You said that so well!”)

All of these points are so important in leading the youth to a better understanding of their situation and God. The Gospel needs to be displayed in word and in deed in this part of the session. The teen ultimately needs the Gospel, not just advice.

Direct

Directing is the time where the counselor gives gospel-centered advice and guidance. The Biblical issues that have already been discussed in this paper and many others would be brought up at this point in the session. The student will need to know what the Bible says about the situation, about repentance (Acts 2:38), love (Matthew 22:37-40), sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:12-20, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5), grace (Ephesians 2:8-10), and forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7). This is obviously not an exhaustive list, yet they are among the most important themes to be dealt with.

Other Biblically based truth will need to offered here as well. They need to know that they are not alone in this fight against sin. One, the Holy Spirit is with them, if they are a Christian. Two, Jesus, “in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Three, there are others dealing with very similar situations. They are not the only person on earth to have ever sexted someone and it came back to hurt them. Also, they need to know that what they do is not who they are. If they see themselves as a “sexter,” they will fall right back into the trap. Finally, they need to know that there is healing on the other side of the situation. This goes especially for those who have been bullied because of pictures. Directing them to see God’s forgiveness and healing after all of the talk about them settles down can be the difference between life and death.

Enlist

Enlisting is empowering the counselee to take control of their life. This is when (most likely in more formal counseling sessions) goals should be defined and also a plan to follow up on the progress. Sphar and Smith explain seven characteristics of “redemptive, well-formed goals”: “Positive in orientation. Specific and measurable. Reasonably attainable. Desired by the client. In the client’s language. Related to the here and now. In the client’s control.” Some examples of goals that would be helpful are: ask for forgiveness from the person who received the sext, seek forgiveness from that other’s parents, seek forgiveness from one’s own parents, seek forgiveness from God, allow parents to have phone at night, begin memorizing a Scripture a week, begin a daily Bible reading plan, find a peer to be an accountability partner, and take note of feelings of lustfulness or sexual desire that might lead to sexting or other kinds of sexual immorality. Goals are simply a proactive way in getting beyond the current circumstances. Some goals can be healing and some preventative, but they all need to point the teen to recovery and trust in God.

Refer

In the cases of sexting, a professional counselor is not usually required. However, referring the youth to some additional resources is always helpful. Among the most helpful books on sexual purity that is geared towards teens is True Love Project by Clayton and Sharie King. The Kings seek to shine a gospel light on purity, and they do so in a way that keeps the glory of God and His mission in the world central. A Young Man After God’s Own Heart by Jim George and A Young Woman After God’s Own Heart by his wife Elizabeth George, are two great gender-focused books in dealing with holistic development of the teen. The counselor should have these resources readily available to give away. Books are not the cure-all for sexting temptations; a counselor needs to have a directory (mental or physical) of people who have gone through a plethora of situations. Yoking a young adult with a youth to work through discipleship together could be what turns the youth around. The counselor cannot do it all, so referrals are necessary and beneficial.

What Other Issues Surround Sexting?

In counseling (teenagers specifically), people tend to come with “tip” problems. This is the “tip of the iceberg” theory. The problem that the counselor hears is “My brother beat me up yesterday.” Physical violence is but only the tip of the problem that rears its ugly head. Root problems of the brother may include low self-esteem, parental disagreements, needs not being met, broken relationship with God, and/or demonic influences. Sexting is a “tip” problem. Counselors should be aware of and know how to deal with other factors in the lives of the youth that surround and fuel sexting.

Interpersonal Relationships

Dr. Ian F. Jones in The Counsel of Heaven on Earth explores three types of relationships that become marred in interpersonal conflicts: relationship to self, relationship to others, and relationship to God. The relationship to self can be the most dangerous one of them all. Sinful humans think too highly of themselves at times. Pride is said to be the root of all sin. An inflated self-understanding can lead one essentially walk all over people, including thinking they can send sexts or pressure others into sending them.

The relationship with oneself is not the only one that needs to be addressed. Relationships with others must be mended in order to heal oneself. This is not to say that the two people who sexted each other need to always continue to be best friends, but forgiveness and reconciliation should happen for them to move on with their lives. The two preceding relationships must be healed to have a thriving life now, but to have eternal life later, one’s relationship with God must be healed. Jesus finished salvation at the cross. He “reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” Jesus has done the work to reconcile humans with God, now repentance and faith is what it takes to enter into to that healed relationship. Every sexter has a responsibility to seek to mend their relationship with self, others, and God.

Pornography

Technology has been the breeding ground for the growth of pornography in modern culture. Due to the invention of the internet and smartphones, pornography is more accessible than ever. Nine out of ten porn users admit to watching only free porn, yet the internet porn market is a three billion dollar business. One out of every five internet searches via a mobile device is for porn. Obviously, porn is easy to get, and people are taking advantage of it. At the time of this paper, no research could be found that documents the possible relationship between porn addiction and sexting. However, The Center for Internet Addiction, founded by Dr. Kimberly Young, categorizes sexting and pornography as “online sex addiction.”Their website states that 60% of their clients are people who have not and would not go to strip clubs or rent a prostitute, but they have found their release in sexting and pornography.

Questioning the youth about their association with pornography may prove to be helpful. If he or she is addicted, then that is being used as fuel for sexting others. Porn and sexting both treat others as a means to gratify self. They objectify the person on the other side of the screen. If the teen has this problem, then other steps would need to take place to work on that addiction. Some of the same Bible verses could be discussed with pornography as they were with sexting. Covanenteyes.com and x3watch.com are two high quality accountability software developers. Getting the student signed up for one of the those would be helpful for the healing process.

Bullying

According to the federal government organization called “Stop Bullying,” bullying is “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.” There are three sides to bullying as related to sexting: those who bully the sexter because of a picture of video that has spread of them, those who bully by forwarding the sext, and those who are the recipients of bullying. Counseling bullies and the bullied is far too extensive of a subject for this paper, however, suffice it to say, bullying needs to be confronted and stopped in sexting cases. If bullying is allowed to go on, suicide may become a significant issue for the bullied.

Suicide

Suicide is just the logical conclusion of someone feeling self-worthlessness. The more the girl hears an insult about her body or her character because of a circulated sext, the more she will plummet into destructive behavior (such as cutting herself, binge drinking, drug use, etc.). This is among the most serious concerns that surround sexting. Most adults should refer the student to someone who is qualified to deal with suicidal students. They should also contact the student’s parents or guardians. If the adult had told the student that everything said in the meeting would be confidential, this is the time to break that promise. Any time someone mentions killing themselves or another person, others need to be notified. At the time of the admission of suicidal thoughts, the adult can try to calm the youth down and reaffirm their worth, but should quickly get someone who is well trained and qualified to continue with the counseling.

Exhortations

Working with adolescents can be frustrating at times, but it is an extremely rewarding vocation as well. Teachers, coaches, youth ministers, YMCA and BAGC staff, camp workers, and other jobs that deal with youth will say that it is not easy work, but it is worth it. Parents of teens know this at an even deeper level. Their discouragement can be overwhelming at times, but the joyous times make it all worth it. In light of all that has been discussed about sexting, what should youth workers and parents do about it?

Youth Workers

Youth workers are a special breed of people; they choose to be around teenagers. Granted, some would say they are called, but they have made the choice to follow through with it. They are the ones who love kids and teens and want to see the next generation thrive. So when something goes wrong with the youth they work with, they feel the full weight of making it better. Here is the sad reality: youth workers can not and will not be able to fix all the problems plaguing the upcoming generation. Sexting is one of those problems that will continue as long as there is sin and the technology to do it. That should not discourage youth workers though, “for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

Those who work with youth need to be aware of the technology that is out there and how students are using it. Adults should not be naive to the culture of students. Youth workers need to be ahead of the game so that they are not totally knocked off guard when one comes to them with a problem. This is not to say that the adult should dress and act like a teenager; it means that the adult should pay attention to teens conversations, read articles that they share, seek to understand their language and mannerisms, and be familiar with the technology they use, music they listen to, and books they read.

Most importantly, youth workers need to care about the teens they work with. They should not “act” like they care, but only true heart change can happen within relationships that are built on true, unconditional love. The cliche “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” is true. When it comes to sensitive, personal situations such as sexting, the teens will not come to just anyone to talk about it. They will go to the ones that know love them and truly want what is best for them.

Parents

Parenting in the digital age certainly has its hardships. Smartphones and all that comes with them can be confusing to parents who grew up listening to vinyl records. All that was said about youth workers can be said about parents as well. However, parents have the distinct privilege and duty to actually parent the teen, rather than just being a supplementary teacher. The parents approach to sexting should be much more hands on and direct.

Parents should have frequent, open, and honest conversations with the teens about life in general and what they are struggling with in particular. These should be regular conversations so that when serious problems arise, these conversations feel natural and not forced. The talks should involve subjects like the temptations they face, their relationship with Jesus, and how He is working in their life. The topic of sexting and technology should be discussed as well. Teens need to know the permanency of pictures, emails, and Snapchats they send. Most students do not understand the consequences that sexting may have on them on into the future. Parents could allow their kid to take some sort of technology safety course, but facts like this is better learned in heart to heart talks with the parents.

Conclusion

Each generation has its struggles. For this generation, it is trying to learn to live with technology and all its temptations. The previous generations have the duty to guide them in this journey. If this generation loses the battle against the devil’s schemes of technology, then the next  will reap the harvest of unrighteousness. The war will not be won in the courts, it will be won across tables. It is going to take youth workers and parents that love God and teenagers who want to see them succeed in life. It is going to take adults who are willing to step up to the plate and disciple youth through these vulnerable times of their lives. By the grace of God and the power of the Spirit, youth workers and parents are to be on the front lines fighting sexting with the Gospel, truth, and love.

Selected Bibliography

A Thin Line. “2009 AP-MTV Digital Abuse Study.” Accessed April 18, 2016. http://www.athinline.org/MTV-AP_Digital_Abuse_Study_Executive_Summary.pdf.

Caron, Christina. “Teen Sexting Linked to Psychological Distress.” Last modified November 10, 2011. Accessed April 19, 2016. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/teen-sexting-linked-psychological-distress/story?id=14914700.

CBS News. “Victims of Bullying: Jessica Logan,” Accessed April 19, 2016. http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/victims-of-bullying/11/.

Cloos, Cassandra and Julie Turkewitz. “Hundreds of Nude Photos Jolt Colorado School.” The New York Times. Accessed April 18, 2016 http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/07/us/colorado-students-caught-trading-nude-photos-by-the-hundreds.html.

Covenant Eyes. “Pornography Statistics: Annual Report 2015,” Accessed April 20, 2016. http://www.covenanteyes.com/pornstats/.

Dill, Dana. “What Exactly is Sexual Immorality.” Last modified March 3, 2014. Accessed April 19, 2016. https://apilgrimsfriend.com/2014/03/03/what-exactly-is-sexual-immorality/.

George, Elizabeth. A Young Woman After God’s Own Heart: A Teen’s Guide to Friends, Faith, Family, and the Future. Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2015.

George, Jim. A Young Man After God’s Own Heart: Turn Your Life into an Extreme Adventure. Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2005.

Harrison, R. K.“Immorality, Sexual” Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Accessed April 19, 2016, http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/immorality-sexual.html.

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