Teen sexting is something you hear about time and time again. Photos leak of nude teens, lives and reputations are ruined. (Note: you don’t have to be a teen for photos to leak, hello iCloud hack!)
Updated 4/25/17: With the new 13 Reasons Why Netflix series – the sexting and teens discussion is more prevalent than ever. Be aware of what is going on in your teen’s life. It could save them or a friend from hurt and possibly tragedy.
I personally haven’t had to address the problem with my child, but the day is quickly approaching when I will need to sit down and have a heart to heart discussion on what sexting is and the consequences. I want to make sure to approach this topict as normal as possible. We did this with the sex talk. It was conversation not a lecture. ALL the FACT were laid out. We made sure the situation was right – that she felt as comfortable (as can be, I mean who REALLY LIKES the idea of talking about sex with their parents). All that said, we want her to hear us and hopefully for there not to be some weird situation 5 years down the road where there are inappropriate pictures being sent and then posted to the internet.
7 Things to Know About Teen Sexting
If you are in the teen parenting stage, I’ve rounded up these 7 things to know about teen sexting. Hopefully these will help as you have discussions with your teen or tween on the subject.
1. Child Pornography
Sending or receiving a sexually suggestive text or image under the age of 18 is considered child pornography and can result in criminal charges.
2. Peer Pressure
While nearly 70 percent of teen boys and girls who sext do so with their girlfriend or boyfriend, 61 percent of all sexters who have sent nude images admit that they were pressured to do it at least once.
3. Why Do People Sext
According to a focus group held by the Pew Research Center, there are several reasons why teens decide to take part in sexting:
- Some see sexting as a first step before they decide to become sexually active;
- Sexting can be used in a romantic relationship between partners;
- Other teens think that sexting is a good way to tell someone that they show interest in a future relationship.
There are several other reasons, unrelated to personal relationships that also lead people to send nude images on cell phones. The most common was peer pressure that leads many young teens, especially girls, to feel that they have to send sexually explicit images of themselves over the Internet.
Others treat sexting as an experiment, wanting to send these images before they become sexually active.
Sending semi-nude or nude photos is more common among teens girls. 22% of teen girls report sending images of this nature, while only 18% of same-age boys have.
5. If You Are Sexting
If your teen is sexting, here is what Psychology Today suggests:
If you’re involved in sexting, STOP! There are too many dangers involved. Delete as many pictures and scrub the internet as much as possible. Ask the person for whom you sent the sext to delete it.
If you’re exposed by an act of retaliation, use the following measures to protect yourself:
- Remove all risqué pics from your computer, phone, etc.
- Ask the person who exposed you to stop in an electronic form. You can use this as evidence, especially if the response is inappropriate.
- Print out all evidence from the sites you are on.
- Block those who are determined to take you down.
- Report any abuse to site operators and ask them to remove pictures.
- Report it to the authorities if it isn’t taken down and take your evidence with you.
- Google yourself periodically and if you have a mutual friend, have them let you know if pictures resurface on the ex’s site.
6. Unwanted Sexts
If your teen is receiving unwanted sexts – here is what they should do.
- Text or private Facebook message the sender. Go easy the first time you ask them to cut it out. For example, a teen could say something like “Don’t send me this stuff, don’t you know my mom is constantly checking my messages?” If that doesn’t work then go with the direct approach and call or confront the person face to face and tell them to stop.
- If you feel threatened by the message or photo block the person and cut off all contact with him or her.
- If he or she still does not stop, get law enforcement involved. Make sure that you keep copies of all messages for your records and evidence if needed.
- If your teen is getting sexts, then step in and help him/her out. If you suspect your teen is sexting, talk to your phone provider about programs to keep your teen from sending sexts.
7. Teen Sexting in Middle School
This is something from Boston.com
Did you know that 20 percent of middle-schoolers (or at least the ones with phones that can send and receive texts) report receiving a sexually explicit message, otherwise known as a sext?
Maybe I need to move up that discussion with my 11-year-old on sexting! The article goes on to state that 65 percent of middle schoolers own phones. And of those that had phones, 39 percent sent at least 100 texts PER DAY. The middle schoolers that sent at least 100 texts per day were more likely to send and receive texts, as well as be sexually active.
We’re covering 31 days talking about kids and technology. Today’s topic, teen sexting.
Quite eye-opening for sure! Back in my day, we didn’t have smart phones…
How Do You Discuss Sexting With Your Kids?
Mom to 4 kids, Molly aka Digital Mom is the blogger-in-chief here at digitalmomblog.com. Talking technology and mom life, Molly shares the realities of parents digital kids.