The Download on Sexting

Filed Under: Sexting

  • W ith modern technology and cell phone use at an all time high, teens are exploring new and faster ways to gossip and communicate about their hormone-infused lives.

  • Sparking a new trend known as "sexting," text messaging has enabled teens to take flirting to a new level of intensity and possible danger. A play on the words "sex" and "texting," sexting involves sending explicit messages (text, photos, videos) via cell phone to friends and peers. This trend is alarming, so it is important that parents know there are steps they can take to educate their tweens and teens about sexting and help them understand the ramifications of this behavior.

  • Here are a few guidelines:

  • With the internet at their finger tips, remind your teens that recipients of sext messages can easily share content they receive with anyone at anytime with just the push of a button. The result can be a message going viral - ending up in multiple cell phones not to mention websites - and thus causing endless embarrassment and humiliation to the parties involved.

  • Communication to your teen that although the legal landscape around sexting is still undefined, when images taken on a cell phone involve a teen and some form of nudity, the images can automatically be defined by law to constitute child pornography. In addition, once a photo or video is posted online, it can easily become a target for child predators.

  • Educate yourself on teen terminology and "text talk" and open a dialogue with your teen that allows you to ask if they know about sexting, if they know anyone who does it, or if they have ever engaged in it themselves. If they are involved in sexting, create a safe space for them to be able to confide in you with whom they text.

  • Fight the urge to polarize the issue with blanket judgements that condemn sexting. Teens are more likely to hear your side of the story if they don't feel persecuted for their actions. Instead, if you can communicate openly about the issue, truly engage their ideas, and at the same time express your concern, your child may develop a more evolved understanding of just how serious and important this issue is as well as see how much you care for their safety and well-being.

Filed Under: Sexting

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