Tweens and teenagers are sending out nude photos to each other without considering the consequences or long-term effects of their actions.
Lisa Houle has been a criminal attorney for over twenty years and is currently focusing all of her efforts on bringing awareness to this topic.
As an attorney, Houle has been on both sides of the defense. The first 15 years of her career, she worked as LA County Deputy District attorney prosecuting sex crimes, violent crimes, and domestic violence.
Now Houle is a high-power defense attorney. One of the common problems Lisa has come across both as a prosecutor and an attorney is sexting
While being interviewed about the dangers of sexting on Inspired Living TV Houle said, “This is going on with young people all over the place. At every school, junior high, high school, colleges. It is very frightening, and it has become my mission to get the word out about this issue.”
The first step to combat the issue is an open dialogue between parents and their children. It is understandable that teenagers can be influenced by hormones and peer pressure but there are strict rules they need to be aware of.
“There needs to be an understanding that asking someone for a photograph of their private parts or sending someone a photograph of your private parts is not OK. Especially when we are talking about teenagers who have no understanding of the emotional expense when you do something like that. You can never get that back,” said Houle.
It’s not uncommon for an image, like a crotch shot, to end up being shared on the internet, or even with other people in their class. The person who sent it to them has no idea that the receiver didn’t keep it secret and it’s now gone around the whole school.
Houle said, “The emotional impact for everyone that’s involved – the suspect, the victim, the parents of both people. Can you imagine the shock of finding out that your child is under investigation? Or that your child is the one who sent the photo, and now it’s gone through the whole school? It’s a horrible thing to think about and I would not wish it for my worst enemy”.
Houle explains the key takeaway is to “Think before you send”. Teenagers may have a sense that they can trust whoever they are sending the photo to, but Houle wants them to look further into the future.
She stated, “No matter how in love they may think they are now – things change. The long term consequences can be disastrous.”
Lisa’s plan is two-fold.
First, there is sext education for parents. Parents need to understand that sexting is happening and it is real. Even if someone’s children are not sending or receiving these photos, they are exposed to it at school and will hear about it sooner or later. Parents should start this conversation with their children.
Lisa teaches parents how to have these conversations, how to identify what sexting is, and how to help children understand other people’s tragic stories.
The second part of her program is for teenagers.
Lisa understands what teenagers are going through and travels to schools to speak to them. Her goal is not to alienate them, but to get students to take a step back and consider the consequences.
Sexting between underage individuals is considered child pornography, and the police investigate this crime when they become aware of it. Prosecutors will then have to decide to whether the case requires criminal charges.
Even if it doesn’t come to criminal charges, the teenagers are often required to undergo a sexting education program, which includes meetings with counselors and police officers. There are serious long-lasting consequences to this practice.
To learn more about the issue of Sexting and the Before You Push Send program, visit LisaHoule.com.