enough is enough

The head of a watchdog group that helps parents regulate their children’s Internet and media usage has started a campaign to stop Cosmopolitan magazine from continuing to push “sexting” among its young female readers.

Cosmopolitan’s latest plunge into the depths of indecency instructs readers on how to send the “perfect” sext.

“No, this isn’t a joke … You and I know there’s no such thing as a perfect sext. And deep down they know it, too,” writes Donna Rice Hughes, president and CEO of Enough Is Enough.

“They know full well that preteen and teen girls are within their demographic buying audience.”

Cosmo publishers also bank on the fact that the magazine is typically displayed on newsstands in full view of minors, along with publications like Time and People, not behind the counter like hard-core porn magazines, she said.

Actually, a quick Google search reveals that Cosmopolitan has been publishing an ongoing series of articles starting in 2011 that provide tips on sexting. Headlines include “Ten things guys really want you to sext,” “Let’s get sexting,” “Sexting Tips: 4 tricks to your steamiest sexts yet,” “How to Sext: Tips for sexting 101,” “Sexting: Naughty text ideas to send today,” and “Sexting: How to send sexy texts and messages.”

Researchers at Drexel University surveyed 870 Americans ranging between ages 18 and 82 and found that 88 percent had sexted at least once, and 82 percent did so within the past year. Three-quarters of the respondents said they sexted within a committed relationship, but 43 percent of the respondents also said they sexted in casual relationships, too.

“While Cosmo continues to push the envelope on soft porn with how-to articles on having titillating, illicit sex, etc., they really crossed the line by promoting and normalizing the dangerous activity of sexting,” Hughes wrote.

What Cosmo neglects to tell its readers, according to Enough is Enough, is:

  • Sexting and self pornification among youth are at crisis levels
  • 62 percent of teens and young adults have received a sext (Barna 2016)
  • 40 percent of teens and young adults have sent a sext (Barna 2016)
  • 15 percent of teen sexters sent texts to someone who they just met (The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 2008)
  • 44 percent of teens say it is common for sexually suggestive text messages to get shared with people other than the intended recipient (The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 2008)
  • Nude and sexually explicit photos of anyone under the age of 17/18 years old is considered under the law to be child pornography and can lead to federal prosecution by those who produce and distribute these images. Many unsuspecting teens have found themselves on the sex offenders’ registry.
  • There are no take-backs online, and nothing is truly private. Reputations and lives have been ruined when sexting goes bad … when a sexted photo or video goes public and or viral. Revenge porn, sextortion, and cyberbullying are harmful consequences that lead to devastation.

“The Cosmo article encourages ‘self pornification’ and paints a picture in the minds of young men and women that it is exciting and acceptable to degrade themselves, that their worth and value are tied up in their sexuality, and that it is OK for them to lower expectations they hold for themselves and each other,” Hughes said. “That it is somehow OK for them to allow others to strip away their dignity by sending sexts.”

Lives, and careers, can be sent down the tube with a single “sext.”

Just ask Fox News’ chief White House correspondent Ed Henry. He recently lost his job over an affair with a strip club hostess in which he sexted naked pictures of himself to the woman.

Fox News chief White House correspondent Ed Henry

Fox News chief White House correspondent Ed Henry

Hughes says Cosmo is destroying the dignity of the human person, and it has launched a Twitter and letter campaign against the magazine.

“Do they even care? Well, I do, and I know you do, too.

“That’s why we’re launching a #NoPerfectSext letter to the editor campaign. This campaign has one goal: to get Cosmo Magazine to stop normalizing the self-pornification practices that harm youth like sexting.”

Enough Is Enough suggests three things the average American can do to help fight the pornification of the culture.

1. Tweet to Cosmopolitan. You can borrow this tweet: @Cosmopolitan sexting isn’t normal, & it degrades our children. It’s harmful. #NoPerfectSext.
2. Tweet to Joanna Coles, Cosmo’s editor in chief, @JoannaColes.
3. Send Cosmo an e-mail at [email protected] asking them why they think sexting is normal.
4. Learn and share the following information about what you can do to prevent your children and grandchildren from sexting.

Over the next couple of weeks, Enough Is Enough will be presenting stories from mothers whose daughters have been exploited by sexting and whose lives have been forever negatively impacted by sexting.

“There was nothing perfect about their experience, because there really is #NoPerfectSext,” Hughes says.

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