" oh your private parts will get you into trouble.""Private Parts" from the musical "Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?"
The report out of Unionville High School that some of the students were trading inappropriate pictures of themselves and their friends online was disappointing but not shocking. It's probably going on at most high schools throughout the nation.
As more information came out, we were happy to hear that the administration will treat the incident as a chance to educate its young charges about exercising discrete behavior rather than punishing them.
Kids reaching puberty with their juices beginning to flow have been engaged in exploratory and sexually curious behavior throughout history. They've also been perusing adult magazines and sharing choice pages from racy books since they were able to read. Even earlier in life, quite of few of them played doctor games with their friends when their parents had their backs turned.
The problem in the 21st century, however, is that kids have access to technology - - translated: cell phones and digital cameras - that their predecessors did not. It was only a matter of time before their indiscrete and giddy shenanigans were going to show up online - the place where they spend many hours communicating and finding out about the adult world.
In this land, there are strict laws about child pornography over the Internet. People who send pictures of minors who are not properly clad or engaged in sexually provocative poses can be arrested and prosecuted. We support these laws that properly protect youths from predatory adults who would abuse them and seek profits from disseminating the pictures.
But the laws can also put the kids and their parents in potentially devastating legal positions. That is, kids who pass around those pictures risk having themselves and their parents put in jail.
This is really where the school staff, parents and law enforcement officials have to get involved and educate the students. The kids need to be sat down and explained what the consequences of indiscrete e-mailing and downloading can be. They need to know that it's no laughing matter and that the results of stupid behavior can be horrible.
In that vein, we applaud Unionville-Chadds Ford School District Director of Technology and Communications Rich Hug for his take on this recent problem. He said it is a time for education, not exploitation. We wish the school district well and expect that this will be a time for growth for students, their parents and the staff.