When Maureen's parents were in middle school, if a girl wanted to show a boy her body in the middle of the night, she would have to sneak out of her house, find a way to get to his, evade his parents and yank up her shirt. A few months before, Maureen had started messaging on Kik with a tall, athletic boy in her class. By March, the middle school crush had fizzled, but he still had the three photos she sent.
They weren't officially dating, but they talked every day. One day, another girl in their class saw one of them on his phone.
At her parents' request, Maureen and her family members are being identified only by their middle names.In Massachusetts alone, the state police computer crimes unit gets multiple calls a month from schools needing its intervention.The story hardly ends when punishment is handed out.For every "sexting scandal" reported, an unknown multitude of parents and teens – mostly girls – are just beginning to grasp what it means to live in a world where nothing digital ever truly disappears.What do you do when your 13-year-old takes photos of her body to impress a boy, and now she's crying, stomping up the stairs, slamming her bedroom door screaming, "You don't understand!The ordeal began in March 2014, when Maureen was 13 years old.Law enforcement agencies could have told her parents how truly ordinary their situation was.Instead of going back to the seventh grade, she went to overnight counseling facilities in Worcester and Boston.Each time Elizabeth and Michael heard doctors say words like "trauma" and "lack of coping skills," they started to worry that their daughter's fears – that this moment would last forever – weren't just a 13-year-old's distorted perspective of time.The boy involved is not being named because he is a minor.His mother declined on behalf of her family to participate in this article.