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Why I Support Snooping on our Kids

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Editor’s note: The following oped is excerpted from “Feisty & Feminine” (Zondervan, April 12, 2016) by Penny Young Nance.

When my daughter Claire was around eighth or ninth grade, she came home one day in a bad mood. Granted, at that point in her life being moody was not that odd, so I didn’t question her, but when she came to me to talk, I realized something was wrong. Claire told me that a girl one year younger than she, whom I’ll call Jane, had come to her for help. Apparently a boy had asked Jane to send him a naked picture of herself.

Jane is a smart, cute young woman, but insecure. Her parents are divorced, her dad was never around, and her family life has always been unstable. Sadly, on impulse Jane sent this boy the picture he requested. What happened next is typical. The young man, finding this salacious picture too interesting to keep private, shared it with his friends on his sports team. Some of his teammates were horrified, but none of them told an adult. They did, however, let Jane know what they had seen, and others too. Jane was humiliated and reached out to Claire for help. Inside, I was frantic, but outwardly I kept calm. Not only was Jane’s reputation and emotional state in tatters, but the young man had potentially committed a felony by possessing and distributing child porn.

Thank God I took a deep breath and kept my face sympathetic. I asked my daughter a few questions, ending with “May I share this with the proper adults?” She was torn between not wanting to breach a confidence and knowing she was in over her head. Together we prayed for Jane and decided that I should let the school know so they could intervene.

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