The Danger of a Screenshot

My youngest son, Garret, celebrated his 14th birthday last weekend with a pool party. At one point during the party, I noticed all the boys were huddled looked at something on a cell phone. They were laughing and acting suspicious, so I asked what was going on. I got the usual answer “nothing.”

After the party, I asked my son again what the huddling was all about. He told me that one of the girls in his grade had posted a “booty shot” on Instagram. She had deleted the photo from Instagram a minute or two after posting it, but by then, one of the boys had taken a screenshot. The boy then forwarded the photo to all his friends, my son included.

I asked him to let me see it, and when I did, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a picture of a 14-year-old girl on a pool ledge taken from behind —  with her bikini bottom riding up her butt crack. No wonder the boys were mesmerized!

It was at that moment that I realized how the screenshot has changed our teens’ lives. All it takes is an instant to capture an inappropriate photo and blast it out to others. Once a teen posts something (or anyone for that matter) it’s out there. Even Snapchats that disappear after 10 seconds don’t really go away when a screenshot can capture the moment for eternity.

There is no such thing anymore as going back and deleting something off the Internet! That’s so scary to me!

I tried to use this opportunity to teach my son that putting ANYTHING inappropriate on the Internet is a risk. I explained to him the concept of thinking before you post and explained how adults are losing their jobs, their reputations and their families over something they post without thinking first. My son’s argument: “All the girls post booty shots mom. Why are you making a big deal?” (When I Googled teen booty shots, dozens of images came up)

“Maybe they do,” I said. “But that doesn’t mean they are using good judgment.”

I’m just not sure my son or his friends get it. When teens live their lives on social media, desperate for likes, I’m not sure that they fear the screenshot as much as they should.

Still, I haven’t given up trying to get my point across.

Have you had any situations like this? Do you think your teen knows what is inappropriate to post online?

Below is a real example from the Internet (one of the more milder ones):

teenbutt

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2 Comments

  1. Samantha R. July 6, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    As a teenager myself, I agree that as a generation, nothing posted online is safe anymore, it’s the reason I myself don’t own Snapchat or Instagram (even when I’m 16). I think that your arguments are valid and I know quite a few of my friends who wouldn’t post those kind of images on their social media sites, due to the damage they know could occur.

    -www.thoughtsfromagirl.com

    Reply
  2. Anil Chatterjee July 7, 2015 at 3:58 am

    Hi Cindy, this story is all too common!! If your son had shared that image, in some places of the world, he could be arrested and charged with distributing child pornography. If convicted he could be labelled a sex offender – a label he would carry for his whole life – terrifying, isn’t it ?!?

    As parents, there are steps we can take to protect our kids. I am a co-founder in a company which has released a solution, SafeKidsPro, which enable parents to keep their kids safe on social media.

    SafeKidsPro alerts parents to cyberbullying, interactions with potential predators and messages that contain threatening, sexual, offensive, derogatory or swearing content. It allows parents to intervene and minimize any damage that these interactions can cause.

    There is no software to download or install and parents can sign up to try it for FREE!!!

    Technology is definitely part of the problem. Thankfully, technology can now be part of the solution.

    Reply

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