What is sexting?
Sexting is the sending of sexually explicit photographs or messages via mobile phone.
Why does it matter when it comes to our teens:
In a technology world where anything can be copied, sent, posted, and seen by huge audiences, there's no such thing as being able to control information. The intention doesn't matter - even if a photo was taken and sent as a token of love, for example, the technology makes it possible for everyone to see your child's most intimate self.
In the hands of teens, when revealing photos are made public, the subject almost always ends up feeling humiliated. Furthermore, sending sexual images to minors is against the law, and some states have begun prosecuting kids for child pornography or felony obscenity.
What can parents do?
- Don't wait for an incident to happen to your child or your child's friend before you talk about the consequences of sexting. Sure, talking about sex or dating with teens can be uncomfortable, but it's better to have the talk before something happens.
- Remind your kids that once an image is sent, it can never be retrieved - and they will lose control of it. Ask teens how they would feel if their teachers, parents, or the entire school saw the picture, because that happens all the time.
- Talk about pressures to send
revealing photos. Let teens know that you understand how they can be
pushed or dared into sending something. Tell them that no matter how big
the social pressure is, the potential social humiliation can be
of times worse.
- Teach your children that the buck stops with them. If someone sends them a photo, they should delete it immediately. It's better to be part of the solution than the problem. Besides, if they do send it on, they're distributing pornography - and that's against the law.
- Check out ThatsNotCool.com.
It's a fabulous site that gives kids the language and support to take
texting and cell phone power back into their own hands. It's also a
great resource for parents who are uncomfortable dealing directly with
-Source Common Sense Media