Last summer our family enjoyed a fun afternoon at a local beach. My 13-year-old daughter had brought her friend along, and the two girls were having a blast playing in the water. My husband was splashing around with our younger kids and I was trying to convince our toddler to leave the sandy muck and join the fun in the water.
I heard some loud voices and looked up to see my husband forcefully saying “You just stay over there,” to several teenage boys who had approached my daughter and her friend. The boys backed off and I got the rest of the story. The boys had been “chicken-fighting” in the water and wanted to chicken-fight my daughter and her friend. The girls didn’t want to play with them. One of the boys had started taunting them, saying “Come on, polka-dots! Give me your phone number!” (the friend was wearing a polka-dot bathing suit), and the girls were nervously laughing and shaking their heads no. At that point my husband confronted the boys and told them to back off and leave the girls alone, which they did, but not before scowling their disapproval and muttering at him under their breaths.
The incident crossed my mind when I came across new research showing that 15 to 25 percent of teen girls feel “bombarded” by “sexting,” including requests for nude photos, and that too many of them just don’t seem to be able to say no.