January 30, 2009

This week I watched some Dr. Phil. I have never spent any amount of time watching Dr. Phil before. My first impression of him has always been quite negative. He seems unlikable, annoying, and too in-your-face for my taste.

This week, Dr. Phil was talking about teens and current teen trends. The first part was on texting habits. He discussed something called “sexting”, which is when you send explicit text messages or sexy pictures through your phone. The troublesome part is that most of these texters are young (i.e. under 18), which means it ends up being considered child pornography. Regardless of that fact, on the show he talks to this one 12 y.o. girl whose parents don’t know how to handle her “sexting”. Dr. Phil comes to the conclusion that the girl is participating in this behavior for attention because she suffers from low self-esteem. This is a completely logical idea; I would fully agree. His solution, however, is that she needs psychological help, possibly even medication. There’s no suggestion the parents discuss the problem with the daughter beyond taking away her cellphone. And, there’s no suggestion that the girl might be sexually curious and her parents should also talk to her about that too. No, “sexting” is clearly a sign of instability and should be solved with fancy doctors and pills.

Side note – the second part of the show was about a guy who enjoyed getting punched in the face. Now that might actually warrant some psychological help. And, I did not continue to watch the show.


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