A peek in the sex scandal laden world of teens?

This month is unusual in terms of the messages I received from recipients of negative online experience. Well because it involve minors, voyeurism and sex scandal.

  • A parent reported how a fellow minor forced their kid to strip, while being photoed. Pictures were eventually distributed and tagged sex scandal.
  • A guardian reported how a minor was tricked to stripping on cam, and her private pics eventually landed on a sex scandal blog
  • A mother reported that her daughters’s topless pic were being passed around by classmates
  • Another mother reported that a semi-nude picture of her daughter were being shared in Facebook and Instagram
  • A minor reported that her private pics landed on a sex scandal porn site and the site disclosed her Facebook account, therefore, flooding her messenger and posts with nasty comments.

Likewise, some teen followers of mine hinted of two very recent sex scandals that went viral on Facebook. The first is said to be a 3 part series involving high school students who had sex while their friends watch and film them. The more recent sex scandal, according to them, is also a 3 part video involving a young model.

Though stories like these were not captured by majority of us, apparently, these don’t scape teen-agers. Or at least, on the circles of those who shared the info to me.  A quick FB search for the hashtag and keyword revealed how active the minors were in discussing, commenting about the issue, and sharing links to a fake or dead sites.

According to this UNICEFs National Baseline On Violence Against Kids Survey

  1. The Philippines is in top 10 countries suffering from online child exploitation (ages 10-14)
  2. Online child abuse is leading form of Cybercrime in 2014
  3. Tens of thousands are estimated to be abused via webcam and live-stream
  4. One for every four kids are exposed to sexual content
  5. Secondary students are likely to experience online violence.
  6. Those kids who are w/ GF/BF have a higher risk of exposure
  7. Poor kids or those w/ parents who gamble are most likely to experience abuse

So this should not surprise us if our kids learn much about sex, and enticed to engage in,  when they’re online.

Pop culture gone wild?

We all know that the our affinity to free speech plus social web brought the culture of  “selfie”, “sharing” and  “trolls”. The younger generation has been more assertive about themselves, and found a space to harness their creativeness. The key element for these is the ability to share and express in cyber space w/o censure.

However, the same platform meant to add value, was also being used for non value adding negative purposes.  Some young people think that censuring them on these activities violate their freedom. On the first place, those who filmed and photographed themselves are to blame if and when these materials were accessed and released in the web, according to their logic.

The exchanges of semi-nude to nude photos,  filming of intimate moments with or without consent, and sharing such materials liberally seem to have become “almost” ordinary.

It’s worth noting too, that in the photos and videos being shared, the face of the girls involved were often revealed, thus, they can be identified on Facebook. The face of the boy involve, is almost always hidden.

While the right to free speech is used as a license, the right to privacy, on the other hand, is being mocked. Once a photo or video is shared in the wild, without regard to the person involved and her family, it will be shared and re-shared.

Facebook often plays a cat and mouse game to minors as these videos and pics are uploaded, shared,  downloaded, taken down, uploaded again, shared and the cycle continues.

In my gigs at schools, and when discussing these observations with other advocates, we discovered that  incidents like these happen inside the bedroom of the kids. Because  it’s either there are no one else in the house, or the guardians don’t mind if the kids and their classmates go straight to the bedroom and stay there for a long period of time. And because most kids have smartphones they are free to film. And if data service or internet is available, then sharing is inevitable.

School premises, at certain times, also becomes a venue for such escapades. Incidents like this happen during school activities where students converge on a single area, and the adventurous ones look for a secluded place to do their act, and film themselves too.

Of interest on this discussion is the findings UNICEF survey on the National Baseline On Violence Against Kids, these four contributes to the risky online behavior of minors: (1) Parents, (2) Economic condition, (3) peers and (4) age

Social engineering

Social engineering is the art manipulating the tendency of another person to trust, and to use that trust to make a person do something beneficial for the manipulator.

Social engineering is the mother of all abuses, it can lead to any form of abuse, online or not. And in the context of our discussion, kids are vulnerable to older kids and adults.

Not exactly innocent

A fellow advocate shared a story about a 17 year old girl who started with on-cam escapades for fun to Facebook friends. It eventually lead to a “for a fee” on-cam engagement. This eventually led to “walking”, a term being used for an escort.  The girl since have amend her ways.

But my advocate friend claimed that since video chat services, and mobile apps abound, flirting on cam seems to be part of the online culture of the young people.

Should we hold someone accountable?

Parents are the first on the firing line when their kids go wayward. Others will point to the school for the values formation, and then the government for not doing enough to mitigate situations that temps our youth to cross over to the dark side. But should they be held accountable, or let the kids be accountable for their folly?

What can be done?

In your opinion, should adults do something to intervene or should we let the younger generation learn from these, and as they mature,  correct these abuses?

This post is supported by a writing grant from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) .


Sonnie is a Talent and Organization Development and Brand Communications Strategist who won the best advocacy blogger in 2010 and best corporate and brand blogger in 2015.

He is a Senior Consultant for Presidential Communications and Operations Office working with the Committee on Media Affairs and Strategic Communications for ASEAN 2017. He also serves in similar capacity with other corporate clients.

His views remain his, and do not represent his clients, associates and family

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  • KT Peralta-Nielsen

    In my opinion, adults should really do something to intervene because these teenagers needs some serious talk. I wonder if they do these out of curiosity or to be accepted in a clique or a group. They probably need parents who listen and parents who can guide them or just someone who would give them a hug and tell them that their lives matter and they can’t waste it on things that they’re not supposed to be doing yet. I still believe in the saying that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

    • Parents who listen and not reactive may help this kids open up. One of the reasons they refuse to talk is they dont want parents to get mad, hurt or do something stupid

  • Berlin Domingo

    In my opinion, we adults should be held liable, somehow. But from experience, most teens do not understand what their parents say unless they experienced it themselves. Teens would often comment how KJ their moms and dads were for not allowing them to go here or experience this. I think we parents should explain nicely and should from start have a nice relationship with their kids for them to get their trust and confidence.

    • IMO, for a serious talk to work for teens, we need a lot of emotional and trust investments during their formative years

  • Mommy QueenElizabeth

    As a mom this kind of dilemma bothers me a lot. Thinking that my kids are now growing and sooner or later they are already teens. My eldest son is turning 10 years old next year and while most kids are into facebook and chatting, even if he has his own account i see that he is not much into the kind of socialization. Like he ignores chats from classmates but was into so much watching in youtube. And im always in the look out for the sites that he usually visits. I think it is our responsibility as parents to educate them and warn them about these issues brought about by technology. In my opinion, curiosity arise when certain things like sex and similar things are not openly talked about at home because we thought it was improper, or taboo. But as they age, i guess it is just right for parents to slowly introduce to them the truth behind sex, educating them about the pros and cons of it and when is the proper time to do it. Sex must be in the confinement of marriage and that is sacred. Having the right circle of influence for our children will also help them to mature correctly and understand things. Whenever i think about those sex scandals where minors are involved, it hurts me so much and i always hope and pray tha it will never happen to any of my family members.

    • educating kids about sex when they’re already teens is kinda hard, since this is a season where they clam-up. but parents need to be skill full when they open this topic up for pre-teens

  • On the issue of kids exposing themselves such as in photos or videos, I’d say there’s more to that than simply a matter of being influenced to do so. Perhaps for kids coming from decent families, and with good relationship within the family, then yes, some are “naloko lang”.

    But there is also big group of people who do that because of social issues. Usually, these are teens and women (and even men) who have taken to exposing themselves as a means to receive instant gratification, a temporary solution to lingering problems.

    Is there a solution?


    • I agree @pinoydaddy1969:disqus that it became an outlet for lingering social issues. But education may not be sufficient to some, but more on professional restorative help

  • tet

    I believe that adults or elders should intervene in this issues. With teenagers nowadays being very wild, I think parents need to properly educate their children and do follow-ups too. I am a teacher in junior high and we had A LOT of this kind of cases. Students caught harassing their classmates which for them is not considered rape because they claimed that the girls like it. Sad to see that the generation was too wild and just acting on their own accord. We should help. We need to.

  • It’s sad to see teens frolicking around the vast internet with these kind of posts. I even saw one posting something about having a boyfriend at the age of 11? I mean, come on, that’s puppy love. I get that. But some take it to a different level by posting photos only wearing underwear. Their parents should be responsible since they are raising the kid. Sometimes, the kids have some problems within their family and so afraid of telling so their outlet is the world wide web. Yet, some kids are so spoiled that they would throw tantrums if they are not allowed to watch or play with their tablets.

  • Really a sad state of these teens! How they land in such troubles is shocking!
    Smartphones should be banned till the age of 18. They should be given normal camera less mobiles for urgent contacting. But this is easier said than done. 🙁

  • Laveena Sengar

    It’s not really son delightful to know about something like. Many times parents just permit there kids the freedom more than they deserve. Being a bit concerned and showing it is very important. This is really sad to hear.

  • We do live in dangerous times, with the advent of social media and technology and with everything from alcohol drinks to candies ads laden with sexual innuendos. Now more than over, sex really sells and it is very alarming that since younger people have now easy access on the internet, they are now the susceptible target. It really is a must to educate the young ones about online etiquette and it is also important for parents to guide their children about what they post online, especially with perverts and pedophiles lurking about.

  • Milton Coyne

    the problem with the Internet is that it is too wide and it is so hard to put limitation to prevent teens or kids from accessing it. The worst is that some adult sites are taking advantage of this and provide access to almost everyone without making any restrictions. It is so hard to pinpoint on who is really accountable on this problem.. one of the issues that millenials are facing today.. so sad