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University of Pennsylvania Law School grad and Lower Merion resident Amy Feldman doles out “legal knowledge” with a mom’s energy on FOX 29 News Philadelphia. Her debut novel, Ezra Exposed (Blackstone Publishing, 150 pages) gets the word out to middle schoolers. After Ezra (finally) gets a smartphone for his 10th birthday, things go awry when he shares photos that land him in the principal’s oﬃce.
AF: This story was birthed from an actual event, when a friend’s son and his friend landed in the principal’s oﬃce because they were exchanging naked pictures of each other with girls. The principle is required by law to report it, because it’s child pornography to share photos of unclothed children, even if the child took the photos. When I started talking about the subject on social media, I realized the focus for kids is on internet safety. I never use the word sex or sexting. The story is a narrative exploration of the things that go wrong.
AF: I do both. I’ve appeared on Screenagers, a 2016 documentary shown to parents and kids. Parents consistently ask how to talk about these issues without wagging a finger. They want to know, “How soon is too soon to talk about issues?” And they worry about implanting ideas.
AF: The best time to find out what kids are thinking is while driving carpool. Bring another adult with you in the car, lower your voice and talk conspiratorially. They’ll listen—trust me. I created a free companion curriculum to Ezra for parents and educators. The corollary to teaching kids anything is: “I’ll be there for you no matter what.” Even if you mess up.
AF: I’m focused on getting this message out right now. I’d like it to be on curriculums and summer reading lists. The latest related issue is the Department of Justice warning about sextortion—“pay me or I’ll release these pictures of you.” It led to 12 suicides nationwide in 2022.
Related: 4 Health Benefits of Talking out Problems, According to an Expert