Welcome to the age of social media, not it appears social conscience

Are Social Media sites and texting making it easier for teachers to sexually abuse our children?
The headlines in the newspaper and on the nightly news are filled with allegations regarding teachers who have been caught texting sexual messages and sending nude pictures to children. Every time I turn on the TV I am shocked that another teacher has been accused of having a sexual relationship with his or her students. The question I find myself asking is social media sites and texting making it easier for teachers to sexually abuse our children? Is it because of technology that we are seeing an increase in this type of abuse or is it because of technology that we are hearing more about this type of abuse, and not really an increase in the amount of crimes, but an increase in our awareness of these types of crimes.
In the last week I have heard about a handful of cases where teachers are being accused of improper relationships with students. I have heard everything from sending improper pictures and messages to having sex with multiple students. What shocks me the most is the fact that in several of these cases the accused is in their 30s, married and women.
One case involved a female teacher and coach, age 27, who began exchanging messages with an 18 year old student. The textings, according to the Sunday edition of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, “including some messages that contained sexually explicit photographed, went on for about a week.” This was followed by the accused teacher having sex with the student in the teacher’s home. Another case, in the same article, spoke of another female teacher and coach, from a different high school, who was arrested after accusations were made that she had “improper relations with a 16-year-old student.”
Texting and Facebooking has become part of our everyday lives. I find myself getting up in the morning, getting my coffee and instead of reaching for a newspaper, I am reaching for the mouse to my computer. I know that texting has made it convenient for me to keep in touch with soon to be 14-year-old daughter. In fact I have even texted it her when I am in another room (she often time ignores my verbal calls) of the house when I need her to come here. My husband and I think this is great entertainment as I will text her, “please feed the dogs.” Then we hear the door crack open and see a flash of blonde hair as she huffs her way to the kitchen to get the dog food and as quick as she can, huffs her way back to her room and we hear the door slam shut. We have a great laugh over that. Sometimes it is the only way I can talk to her. She will text me when I am in the other room, while she is at school (which is a no-no), or on her way home from the bus. I do admit that texting is convenient if anything.
Facebook is another thing on its own. I struggled for months, should I let her have a Facebook or not. We set very strict rules regarding Facebook once my husband and I agreed our daughter could have an account. The rules were simple. 1. You cannot block your parents. 2. No cusing, swearing or bullying. 3. No one over the age of 14 can you friend, unless they are family members. 4. We have the right as your parents to check your photos and wall posts anytime we want, and if we don’t like them, they get deleted. These rules also apply to her phone as well.
Even with all the rules and checking, I still am worried that something will slip through. Instead of just stranger-danger in a physical form now as parents we have to worry about predators that cannot be seen but read as well. Is technology at fault for this behavior? Or is the world a more dangerous place than when we were kids? Child sexual abuse has been happening for years, I have had people say to me. Now it is just that we hear about it more often in the news. We think it is happening more often because now we have the technology to know what is going on across town, in another state, another country almost as it is happening.
I don’t always buy that. I believe that due to the increase use of social networking sites and texting, our children are being exposed even more to this type of abuse. Teachers are supposed to be leaders, mentors and well..teachers. But for some reason these accused teachers don’t think that they will get caught. When everything can be copied or saved for future review, why would someone risk their job, family, and the threat of possible prison time to send sexual photographs or texts to students? One would think that with the increase in ability to save files and information that there would be a decrease in these types of crimes due to the fear of being caught.
Welcome to the age of social media, not it appears social conscience.