Sign up for our newsletter
Get health tips, wellness advice, and more

Thanks for signing up!
You've been added to our list and will hear from us soon.

See all Healthline's newsletters »
Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

What is Sexual Harassment?

Maybe the world has gone mad ... Last month three teenage girls in PA were charged with disseminating child pornography after they sent nude pictures of themselves via cellphone to their teenage boyfriends, who were charged with possession of child pornography.

I have been teaching for years that harassment and flirting are different, based on how the behavior is received ... and I may have been incorrect. It seems that the 20% of teenagers who have posted or sent nude photos have participated in "digital dating violence," at least as defined by the Family Violence Prevention Fund.

Do not get me wrong, I am 100% against dating violence, but I usually define it as controlling or unwarranted behavior (like any kind of harassment, threats, name calling, physical abuse, etc), that does not stop when desired and requested. I see teens sending nude photos or participating in phone (or digital) sex as a problem of a real different kind - one reflecting a lack of self-respect and boundaries.

Teens need help learning what healthy and unhealthy relationships are, and resources to help them when things get out-of-hand, and most of all, they need parental guidance - not criminal records.
  • 1
Was this article helpful? Yes No

About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.