While most teens and young adults who send nude photos or videos of sexual activity may see it as a harmless flirty note or activity, the potential ramifications are far greater, because once it is sent, the photo or video is a permanent record that is now out of the hands of the sender. The trend has been labelled as ‘sexting’ and indicates the need for a broader conversation about teenage sexuality.

 

In Tonga, the ‘sexting’ has just started to raise alarm bells.  At this stage with easy access to mobile phones and two networks in Tonga competing with competitive prices – means that everyone, especially young people can now afford to own a mobile phone. But the mobile phone itself is just a small part of the problem.  The bigger problem that we need to look at is how we, as a society respond to ‘sex.’

 

WCCC Director, ‘Ofakilevuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki said “We have a proud culture of respect between brother and sister and yet things like this such as ‘sexting’ are happening in our very own country!

 

As a result, we need to seriously re-examine the way that we approach teenage sexuality, the ways that parents talk to teenagers about sex, and the levels of cruelty and humiliation that comes with things such as pictures or videos of oneself being forwarded all over Tonga.

 

Our children, teenagers and even ourselves – should be taught that sending or posting compromising photographs of themselves is dangerous and can have terrible consequences for their future. But that’s a lesson that should be taught by parents and teachers and suitable NGOs such as the WCCC”

 

The implications of sexting;

·         Suicide

·         Sexual Harassment

·         Mental Health problems

·         Rape and sexual assault

·         Increase of aggressive violent behaviour

 

If you would like resources or assistance talking with teens about sex, please contact the Crisis Centre 222 40 or wccrisiscentre@gmail.com