By Max Appell ’18

Westport Unitarian Church will be holding a presentation on the dangers of “sexting” for children on Wednesday, Jan. 24. “Sexting” is defined as sending (someone) sexually explicit photographs or messages via mobile phone.

Attorney Leon Smith of the Hartford-based Center for Children’s Advocacy told WestportNow.com that, “This is an extremely important issue for kids and for their parents and school communities.”

Staples, being the only public high school in Westport, is definitely a target audience for the Church as they hope to inform kids about the dangers of sending inappropriate pictures.

“I remember hearing a story of a kid who received pictures from this one girl that quickly got around the school,“ an anonymous senior boy said. “Snapchat was their main source of conversation and the boy saved the pictures she sent him. Later she forced everyone who had the pictures to delete them and now the two don’t talk much anymore.”

Due to this seemingly common environment at Staples, some students have decided they want to help make a difference.

“Sexting is dangerous because you never know whose hands your photos will be in,“ Emerson Kobak ’18, who is currently working on a sexual harassment project in Cathy Schager’s Contemporary World class, said. “We need to start teaching people not to pressure others to send the photos instead of teaching girls not to send them.”

This culture is not only present in high school; Westport middle schools are also dealing with the issue.

“I’ve heard of a lot of kids in my grade sending and receive them [sexts],” Michael Porzio ’22 said. “Kids brag about it and will sometimes show their friends.”

Sexting has become more common with technological growth and advancements and there are now organizations and groups trying to help educate and protect the youth.

According to Dosomething.org, an organization trying to help American youths, “17% of sexters share the messages they receive with others, and 55% of those share them with more than one person.”

Those interested in attending the presentation can attend to Westport Unitary Church at 10 Lyons Plain Road in Westport. The presentation will begin at 6:30 and continue for two hours.

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