Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Stalking texters, sexting monsters: A bit of help
You wouldn't think that the guy who made "Extreme PB&J Sandwich Making" would be an excellent source of advice on establishing digital boundaries. But YouTube and post-YouTube star Brandon Hardesty delivers brilliantly in his 4.5 minute video "What If" in ThatsNotCool.com. If your kid even knows someone who knows someone who's getting pressured by a peer to send nude photos of him or herself via cellphone, you might appreciate watching Brandon playing the roles of Mom, Dad, guidance counselor, and boyfriend as potential confidants in a situation like this. You might also love the quite fruity "Pressure Pic Problem," providing a slightly less agnostic perspective than Brandon's. I did. ThatsNotCool.com is brilliant too. It's co-created and -sponsored by the Family Violence Prevention Fund, Ad Council, and Office on Violence Against Women "to address new and complicated problems between teens who are dating or hooking up — problems like constant and controlling texting, pressuring for nude pictures, and breaking into someone's email or social-networking page." Besides the videos, which make for great family discussion talking points, there are "Call-Out Cards" with little messages like "I appreciate your concern for my location EVERY TWO MINUTES" that can be downloaded, emailed, or sent to MySpace or Facebook friends and annoying acquaintances. There are also a discussion forum where people can give and receive advice from peers and a Help section where they can reach out for professional help. BTW, for a bit of context: Nielsen Mobile reports that a typical US teen sends and receives more than 1,700 text messages a month (that's more than 50 a day).