With the rise of the information age, people— Staples students being no exception—are more connected to each other now than ever before. As a result, they are in danger of falling victim to a whole new set of uniquely modern offenses.
Each year, the texting, picture messaging, and instant messaging capabilities of different cell phones and computers reach new levels. These technologies shape the everyday relationships and decisions of high school students. In order to keep Staples students’ best interests at heart, the health curriculum should teach students about the potential dangers associated with texting.
A suggestive text message or image can travel from the inbox of one student to recipients over the Internet or cell phone networks. The transmission of these “sexts” can sever friendships, tarnish reputations and result in lasting humiliation. Prosecutors in some parts of the country have even begun to order the arrest of teenagers—who see little or no harm in their actions—in possession of “sexts” on charges of possession of child pornography. No student should be subject to the personal and legal humiliations that can result from a youthful mistake.
On a related but totally different issue, the rise of text messaging has also led to increased legal troubles for teenagers behind the wheel. In addition to the significant physical dangers involved in texting while driving, which often is as risky as drunk driving, it is now illegal in Connecticut and 18 other states to send a text behind the wheel. Because of Connecticut’s new Graduated Driver Licensing laws, teenagers can have their licenses suspended for 30 days on their first conviction for the offense, leading to both practical inconveniences and increased insurance costs.
The problem with all of this is that Staples’ health curriculum has not gone far enough in educating its students about these new and ever-changing risks. While it has done an excellent job of meeting state mandates, it should exceed its expectations and teach students about newer dangers that are increasingly relevant to their lives.