Youth Culture Window
Spilled potato chips. A freshly baked pepperoni pizza. Some wiggly Chinese noodles. Are these the cravings of some pregnant woman?
Nope. They’re just a few of the images young people are using to ask one another for nude photos.
Excuse Me, I’d Like a Naked Picture of You
While casually scrolling through your Facebook feed the past few weeks, you may have seen a video or picture with the following message: SEND NUDES. It might be a picture of those foods mentioned above or a view of some “clouds” in the sky or even a note spelled out in Christmas lights. Regardless of what form it takes, the message is always the same: SEND NUDES.
According to Know Your Meme’s webpage, SEND NUDES is “an expression used to request sexually explicit photographs from someone via various forms of communication, including web based services and text message.” The webpage even gives a brief history of how the phrase SEND NUDES came into our culture’s language.
If you haven’t seen any of these “creative requests” for nude photos, here’s a sample of them provided by The Chive. (NOTE: These graphics don’t actually contain any nudity.) They offer the following advice to help (mostly) guys score pics of their female friends: “It’s no secret now that the more creative you get when asking for nudes, the higher your chances are of actually receiving them. Intense research has also shown that if you can include some laughs with your requests, your creepy factor will go down and return photos will go up.” On that note, College Humor offers this list of The 11 Best ‘SEND NUDES’ Requests with the tag line: rumor has it, these 11 people are still receiving nudes from these top notch requests.
The SEND NUDES phrase, helped along by the colorful and brazen social media bump, is growing in popularity. You can buy a cell phone case that reads SEND NUDES and if you visit Amazon’s homepage and type “send nudes” into the search bar, you’ll find everything from hats to shirts to winter gear available for purchase…all with SEND NUDES emblazoned across the front. Recognizing the massive appeal behind the message, Kim Kardashian even got in on the action by selling her own pieces of SEND NUDES merch this past holiday season.
Sex still sells. Literally.
Without a doubt, many young people will dismiss the SEND NUDES trend as nothing more than a joke. “I wasn’t really asking for naked pictures. I just thought the video was fun to send.” Granted, some of the creative videos and pics might cause kids to chuckle, but it’s no laughing matter when a young person’s life is actually ruined by having shared nude pics of themselves. Parents and youth workers must help shape a generation that too often defines itself by how others react after seeing their naked images. Here are some practical suggestions.
- Monitor social media. Sexting has been a youth culture reality for more than a decade now. But sharing racy pics is no longer restricted to just text messaging. Snapchat built its empire on the (empty) promise that images sent to friends were completely temporary, causing nude photos to increase faster than the national debt. And when Instagram added their “Direct” service, many rightfully believed it would encourage users – young and old – to send naked photos. This means caring adults need to pay as much attention to social media apps as they do text messages or web browsing history (Here are a few tips for doing that with Instagram).
- Keep having conversations. Of course, the best way to deal with “nude pic problems” is just to avoid them in the first place. For that, the best course of action is ongoing dialogue about the potential disaster that can come from sharing nude photos. So when you read an eye-opening article about SnapChat, share it with your teenagers over dinner and ask them, “Is he right?” Listen to what they have to say (Jonathan provided yet another video and set of discussion questions on the subject of phones last week on his helpful blog). You might think the 27 talks you’ve had on the subject were great ones – and they might have been! – but just remember that it only takes one lapse in judgment to undo all your hard work. Talk. Listen. Repeat.
- Combat the normalcy of overt and public sexuality. From sexting to Cosmo’s monthly cover to racy billboards to the explosion of online pornography, our culture seems enamored with sexuality. The SEND NUDES trend is just the latest expression. Granted, the SEND NUDES phenomenon will more than likely disappear like a Snapchat photo of Aunt Ethel asleep on the couch at Thanksgiving, but something like it will soon take its place because our culture salivates for all things sexual. Make sure your kids have a biblical understanding of sex and are in possession of responsible habits when it comes to relationships and dating. Your teenagers don’t have to lose their minds (and more) just because millions of other kids do.
In the end, the more serious you treat the SEND NUDES trend, the less silly your kids will look.
David R. Smith
is a 15-year youth ministry veteran who helps youth
workers and parents through his writing, training, and speaking. David specializes in sharing the
gospel, and equipping others do the same. He co-authored his first book this year,
Ministry By Teenagers
. David provides free
resources to anyone who works with teenagers on his website, DavidRSmith.org
David resides with his wife and son in Tampa, Florida.