Let’s go ahead and rethink that headline. There are no “pros” to sending anyone an illicit photograph of yourself. And for as much as I’m going to make light of what’s a pretty serious crime (the FBI is involved!) I think we can all agree that extortion based around illicit photographs is awful.

It’s also worth throwing in a disclaimer here that, as a former teenage boy, I absolutely would have fallen for it, hook, line and sinker. A good-lookin’ lady wants me to send some photos? Let me make sure no one’s using the phone and I’m hitting send on some pictures absolutely no one would ever want as fast as I can. What’s the worst that could possibly happen?

 

Photo Senders: A local teenager is in QUITE a bit of trouble for his work on the Internet. This young man pretended to be a (presumably attractive?) woman and got a bunch of his fellow teenagers to send him, uh, compromising pictures. There’s a popular bit of rhyming nomenclature assigned to this particular variety of anatomical photography, but I’m not sure mentioning it in the polite company of this column meets our editorial standards. 

Anyway, the Lewd Nude Dude in question (who is, obviously, deserving of whatever punishment is coming his way) then extorted the senders by threatening to, um, reveal the revealing photos they sent to a stranger on the internet to other strangers, or maybe to some people who weren’t strangers, I guess?

Now there’s been a lot of reactions on Facebook and elsewhere about how horrible this all is (it is), and how much of a predator the young man in question is (he said so himself), and how awful this must all be for the poor teenagers that sent pictures of their genitals to a stranger (agreed), and how dangerous he is (pretty dangerous), and why didn’t the school do something differently (the FBI told them not to?), and why is the county just now pressing charges (I won’t pretend to be an expert), and — wait, let’s back up. 

A bit of advice for the kids that got duped in this (admittedly pretty weird and sad) ordeal: This is your one pass. This is, for all intents and purposes, the LAST time in your life anyone will feel sorry for you due to the results of you sending a photograph of your private bits to what you’re pretty sure is a woman (or a man, if that’s your thing). 

(Also, I said the results, not the content.)

I realize that part of growing up in 21st century America is the freedom to send pictures of yourself naked to whoever you want. Heck, it’s part of being an (alleged) adult these days! But let’s not pretend this was some wholly unavoidable thing that no one could have possibly seen coming upon hitting ‘send,’ and let’s hope some of the parents of the victims in question delivered a bit of sage advice.

Kid: “So, uh, I’ve got a problem, Pa.”

Dad: “Did you break my lawnmower?”

Kid: “No, uh-”

Dad: “Chainsaw?”

Kid: “What? No your stuff’s all fine. I sent some ‘pictures’ to a stranger I thought was a hot chick that was totally into me but it was all a ruse and now they want money.”

Dad: “Ah, I remember MY first day on the internet. You got a lot of hot chicks into you?”

Kid: “... No.”

Dad: “But you thought, through some miracle from up on high, this one was. Right. Got any money?”

Kid: “... No.”

Dad: “So they’re going to, what, take these pictures you sent to a stranger, of your own accord, and put them on the internet so other strangers can see them or something?”

Kid: “Yes!”

Dad: (shrugs)

Kid: “Okay I flooded the lawnmower.”

Dad: “YOU WORTHLESS LITTLE $%#!”

There’s a few things to remember when the option to send compromising photographs of yourself arises. Chief among them: There’s A LOT of naked pictures on the Internet, and literally millions of them feature people more physically attractive than you. Whoever’s asking for this type of thing knows full well they can find something more impressive in three clicks, and you should, too.

•••

Aaron VanTuyl is the sports editor and a columnist for The Chronicle. His “Lewis County Power Rankings” are meant as a satirical look at the news of the week. Send feedback to avantuyl@chronline.com.

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