SEXTED for blog 01.10.13

The downward spiral of Amanda Todd began when she sent a photo of her breasts to a man she didn’t know. That photo went viral and Amanda was soon the target of verbal, physical and cyber bullying. When she couldn’t take it any longer, Amanda ended her life.

Amanda’s end began with sexting. Most people have heard about sexting, but some don’t realize how serious the consequences can be. According to a report from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy, “one in five teen girls (22%)—and 11% of teen girls ages 13-16 years old—say they have electronically sent, or posted online, nude or semi-nude images of themselves. . . . ”

If caught, young people can be charged with possession and dissemination of child pornography and may have to register as sex offenders for life. And, too often, the photos are shared and available on the Internet indefinitely. According to the same report quoted above, “One-third (33%) of teen boys and one-quarter (25%) of teen girls say they have had nude/semi-nude images—originally meant to be private—shared with them.” This public exposure can trigger peers to bully, taunt, and shun. All because of one impulsive act.

Enter my young adult novel Sexted!, a cautionary tale told with humor and a hint of romance.

Finn McCarthy and Josh Hadley feel like typical tenth-grade übergeeks who don’t really stand out or fit in . . . until the day Finn is texted a racy photo from an anonymous female with the tantalizing proposition: Wan 2 c mor?

Feeling flattered, confused, excited, and nervous, Finn seeks the counsel of his best friend, Josh, and together they attempt to unravel the why and—most importantly—the who of this enticing message.

This task proves difficult, yet it’s an intoxicating escape from the difficulties both boys face at home. Finn’s mom is an alcoholic and his dad seems to accept her destructive behavior as status quo. Josh and his sister, Paige, are children of divorce living with a mom who is always working, and an absentee dad who has news that will change their lives forever.

While unraveling the mystery of these seductive texts, both Finn and Josh must face their demons and desires—and decide which risks are truly worth taking.

If you know a young person who might be tempted to send a photo of his or her private parts winging through the ether, suggest he or she read this book, available now in digital format on Amazon, and coming soon in print. A sneak peek is available on the Amazon site. Check it out. It just might save a life.

Praise for SEXTED!:

“Titillation and trauma, crushes and consequences…Coombs gets it so right.” — Deborah Halverson, editor, and author of  Honk If You Hate Me and Big Mouth (YA), and WRITING YOUNG ADULT FICTION FOR DUMMIES.

“Karen Coombs, yet again, tackles a hot topic from the perspective and authentic voice of today’s teens. With genuine characters and authentic emotion, she reveals how seemingly innocent curiosity can lead to damaging consequences.”  


8 responses »

  1. Janet Ophus says:

    Haven’t been in touch with your blog in some time. Congratulations on getting Sexted off the ground. You have worked hard and I only wish that our mom’s were here to share the moment with you. However, as we often say, “They are watching and have had their hand in it anyway.”. With love from your auntie.

  2. Philip Rose says:

    Come on! Please, please get the Amanda Todd story straight. She was not involved in sexting. She was involved in regularly going on to webcams to expose herself, and she got caught out. Google ‘Amanda Todd Daily Capper’ or ‘Amanda Todd BlogTV’ – she was actually banned at one point. You can even see the pictures! And I’ve seen the video of her and her friend. If you want more information, take the time to read my blog Please join in the debate!

    • Olivia Green says:

      Hey p rose pr perso365 who was one of Amanda’s stalkers in life and now in death. Thought you moved on but still trying to take the heat off you. My blog site shows your screen comments admitting to being perso365 so your fake pen name outs you there. From the UK. Is stalking Carol on her own blog. Admits to sexually assaulting over 9000 boys and girls. Just block him or laugh because nothing perso says is true. lol My blog on him with screen caps is

  3. Karen Coombs says:

    Thank you for stopping by. I suppose that Amanda’s experience does not qualify as true sexting, since she didn’t send her photo via cell phone. However, she did send it, and the consequences were serious. For the purposes of my post, all the truth that matters is:
    Amanda was a child.
    She was seriously troubled for reasons we don’t know.
    She made one or more serious mistakes, perhaps partially, because at her age her anterior cingulated cortex was not yet fully developed, compromising her decision-making skills.
    She ended up being bullied, whether as the result of her exposure or otherwise, again, we don’t know.
    She killed herself.

    I believe Amanda should be viewed as a cautionary example of what not to do. Everyone has a weakness and there are always people around who will exploit that weakness. Often the outcome is tragic, as was Amanda’s.

    Poor, sad, little girl. I truly hope other young people will learn from her unfortunate example.

    • Philip Rose says:

      Firstly, please let me apologise. My comment was a bit terse, and you have been gracious enough to answer. Also, I’ve only just got round to replying.
      I feel I need to point out that she didn’t send a photo. She was live online (with a friend) and they both flashed. This video was captured by one, if not many, of the viewers. I have seen it, and it is quite heart-rending in it’s child-like innocence. What really caused the problems were her repeated appearances online, resulting in her being described a ‘celebrity of sorts’ in what is known as the Capper community.
      The rest of your reply is spot on. I can only guess that there were all sorts of mental and emotional problems going on – before AND after the events. Probably too many to go into here. It’s a shame that the whole story will never be told in full truth mode, as I think there are many valuable lessons to be learned here. Unfortunately, I think all the warnings to be taken from this story are being brushed under the carpet. By concentrating on the bullying aspect, so much more has been lost. I hope the same as you.
      Thank you for responding. Take care.

    • Olivia Green says:

      Thanks for the story. Amanda did not send the pic to the perv but rather he screen capped it. P Rose or perso365 is one of the pervs who hounded her until and now after her death. He is harassing her mother on her blog too, Pervs maje boise when they are about to get caught.

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