Cell phones are an amazing bit of technology.  With the advent of the smart phone just about any form of tech is now readily available at your finger tips.  They can serve as GPS devices, personal music players, television, they are a computer, they are used for gaming, and not only still photos, but they can also record videos.  It never ceases to amaze me what the newest and latest cell phones have the power to do.  For many their cell phone has come the most important piece of technology they own.  It contains all sorts of personal data; bank account records, credit card information, address book, personal schedules, and so on.  With social media it not becomes not only your personal schedules, but it very much the modern day diary documenting your life.  It is estimated that an 18 year old will take more than 25,000 selfies in their lifetime (and this just includes personal photos).  These pictures can be shared on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and whatever other social media platform is out there. 
Because of these massive use of the modern cell phone, Apple, and other cell phone companies are required to make the data on these phones secure.  (No one wants to wake up tomorrow and find out that their bank accounts are drained).  As bothersome as that is, it seems that the most frequent thing I read about stolen off of phones is NOT account information.  It is personal photos.  It seems that every month or so some other celebrity has had their phone hacked and what was stolen was personal photos that were sexual in nature. 
Now, I am no in way trying to villianize the victim.  However, something our society has seemed to lose sight of is modesty.  If you don’t want your nude photos stolen, why are you taking them?  If you don’t want your sex videos stolen why are you recording yourself?  I am sorry, but while these celebrities are victims, that are also victims of their own sinful activities.
Now, my article title says “Teenagers Beware.”  This article is not about the celebrity, but about the teenager.  Sexting is a real problem among the youth of America.  (Sexting is the transmitting of nude or nearly nude photos, videos that show nudity or sex acts or text messages that propose the sending of such information.)  Data is a bit conflicting on the numbers of teens affected by sexting.  Somewhere from 10 to 20 percent of all teens have seen sexually suggestive pictures and as much as 1 out of every 3 teens have received them via text, email, etc  With the growing number of kids in our own congregation approaching the teenage years that means that it is very likely that one of you will indeed by exposed to such filth (and that is what it is). 
I want you to be aware of the dangers.  For starters, these pics are NEVER truly private or anonymous.  In others words once you put these pics are put out there others (whom you had no desire to let see) will see them.  In some states, sending such images is illegal.  (Child pornography is a major issue in our country).  Any boy (or girl) that refuses to date you without such a relationship is NOT a boy or girl you need to be dating.  This person views you are an object not a person.  You ARE worth more than that.  Anyone you date should see you as God’s amazing creation and as God’s own child.  If her/she doesn’t honor you in that way, move on.
You also need to realize that sexting is indeed sin.  The bible is very clear on what modesty is.  The bible is very clear on sexuality.  Sure, man tries to muddy up the waters and blur the line God has drawn, but God was and is crystal clear on his expectations on sexual morality (I Tim. 2:9; I Pet. 3:3-4; Song of Solomon).  Women are to cover themselves (and I would argue that this lesson on modesty is meant for men as well).  And the marriage bed is meant just for that, the marriage bed.  It is undefiled (Heb. 13:4).  Any other attempt to recreate the marriage bed outside of marriage is defiled, sinful and defies what good thing God created in marriage. 
And a quick warning to us parents.  I wish I could simply say, trust your kids.  Regretfully we cannot.  I want to trust my kids.  I want to know that they wouldn’t do such things, however you know full well how powerful peer pressure is.  My mindful of your children’s social media network as well as their phone and what is on it.  I know that our society pushes the idea of privacy and that reading such as an invasion of such privacy.  I have taught my children that such privacy exists outside this home.  So long as they are under my roof they live under my rules.  This means I get to see their emails.  I get to see their chat messages.  I get to know who they are talking to.  Is it fair?  Maybe not today’s standards, but I am more interested in being their parent than being their best friend.  Explain to your kids early and often WWGT.  “What would God think.”  If you wouldn’t want God to see you doing that, then don’t share it with others.


Grinnell church of Christ
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Teenagers Beware

The Light
Volume 8 Issue 12