December 2015

Sexting In The News

Sexting continues to be a growing problem among teenagers. Last year, Drexel University published the results of a study they conducted on this topic. According to the college students surveyed, 54% had sent or received a sexually explicit text message or image.

Canon City High School in Canon City, Colorado had a beginning to their school year that I'm sure they would like to forget. Shortly after school began, 100 students at Canon were under investigation by the local police after the police were informed of hundreds of sexually explicit photos that had been shared by students. There were so many students involved that the Canon City High School football team had to forfeit one game because so many athletes had violated the school's code of conduct.

Colorado, like Texas, considers sexting to fall under the category of production and distribution of child pornography. We have to teach our children that if they take a sexually explicit picture of themselves and text it or email it to anyone, or if they receive a sexually explicit image and then forward it -- under current Texas law, they may be subject to a number of felony charges and risk being labeled a "sexual offender."

The statistics in the study are disturbing for many reasons. However, we have to move from being disturbed or shocked by the statistics into action. We have to educate our children. The penalties for this kind of mistake can have life changing consequences.

It is also important that our children understand that this digital world is different from the analog world of our high school days. Digital images are a lot like toothpaste. Once it's out of the bottle, you can never get it all back inside. I've had to tell too many girls who have made this mistake that they are now holding loaded dynamite, and they have no idea when in the future it will explode.

This is too important to ignore. We have to engage our kids on this topic. As Charles Martin wrote in his Open Letter to My Sons, "I will not sell my parental rights at the altar of what everyone else is doing, or the altar of indifference -- which is the curse of this age." So, I implore you to understand how prevalent sexting is, and talk to your children about it.

Drexel University Survey

Sexting scandal: Colorado high school faces felony investigation

Charles Martin "Open Letter to My Sons"

Photo Vaults -- Hidden Apps

The sexting scandal that put Canon City High School on the map also started a conversation regarding photo vault apps. The Canon City Police found that students had been using an app that looked like a calculator, but was really a photo vault. Below is a short video that explains in detail what a photo vault app are capable of doing.
Calculator% Photo App - Social Media Safety Guide


I can't stress enough how important it is for you to know what apps your son or daughter has on his/her digital devices.

Apple helps you with this task. You can set parental restrictions on any iDevice. Setting parental restrictions allows you, among many things, to turn off the App Store. Once the App Store is turned off, your son or daughter would not be able to install apps without your involvement.

Below is a video that will show you exactly how to turn off the App Store.

We have not turned off the App Store on the iPads that the school issued to our high school students because we have a management system that allows us to see every app that's installed. Additionally, our management system produces a daily report listing all the apps that are installed in the last 24 hours.

Turn Off App Store

The Bible Project

I want to share with you a treasure that I recently ran across on Youtube. The Bible Project is a labor of love by a group of men from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. These guys love the Bible and are creating 5-minute videos that explain the structure and themes of each of the 66 books in the Bible. Below is their video on the book of Psalms.

The Bible Project has already completed videos on the following books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Ruth, Job, Psalms, Matthew, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Hebrews. Wait, go back and read that list again. Did you notice that they've created a 5-minute video on Leviticus. I know you are interested now, so to learn more about The Bible Project go to .

Read Scripture Series: Psalms

Look at the iPad

Please take time this week to sit down with your son or daughter and look at the camera roll on the iPad.

Christina Jontra

Director of Digital Learning

Grace Community School