Local residents intervened, questioning if it was a form of child abuse.
Image via Facebook.
Parents in Riverside, California, became irate last week after a community Facebook group for public events published the photo of a teenage girl being publicly shamed for sexting. The girl was seen crying at a busy intersection while holding a hand-printed sign that read: “I’m 13 I ask for d--k pics.” Nearby, a woman presumed to be her mother sat in a parked car and watched the girl endure senseless humiliation for several hours.
After seeing the photo posted in the community group, local resident Krista Wilson drove over to the intersection and saw the girl standing with the sign. “You could see tears running down her face,” Wilson told KNBC News. “Grown men were reading it and laughing,” she continued.
Wilson and several others who believed the extreme discipline constituted child abuse contacted the Riverside Police Department, who spoke with the teenager’s mother.
After questioning the mother, Riverside officials did not believe the incident to be child abuse and decided against pressing charges. But it’s believed the department has put the mother in contact with a social worker to discuss parenting strategies.
Although sexting should be addressed by the parents of teenagers, shaming them publicly can be extremely harmful. Riverside’s local NBC station noted Elizabeth Davis, Ph.D., who is a professor of psychology at the University of California, advised that publicly shaming teens for sexting is “heaping self-doubt on something already potentially volatile.”