As a parent trying to keep your teen out of trouble, you may have covered all of the bases by now by monitoring television, friends, and even computer time. But have you talked with your teen about the dangers of “sexting“?
Sexting is the newest teen trend that presents a variety of dangers to both teens and their parents. Of course, teens text often to their friends, and as a parent, you may have a difficult time getting your teen’s texting habit under control. You are likely aware by now about the dangers of texting and driving for teens and adults alike, but it is important to take it a step further as a parent and monitor exactly what your teen may be sending via text message to friends or strangers.
Studies have confirmed that one in five teens from ages 13 to 15 have received or sent a text message that contains inappropriate text or images.
While it may be perfectly fine for your teen to send a picture of her new dress to a few girlfriends, where do you draw the line to prevent her from sending images to friends that are much more inappropriate? Not only is this type of sexting detrimental to your teen’s emotional health, but it could get her in trouble with her school and the law.
As a parent hoping to prevent sexting, the first thing that you must do is to be informed. By understanding how your teen’s specific model of cell phone works, you will be able to review any images that are sent and check the phone bill for strange numbers.
Even more importantly, open the lines of communication about sexting. Teens are in an experimental phase, but if your teen does not understand how seriously dangerous sexting is, then she may be tempted to try it. As a parent, you must first emphasize that these scandalous images should be kept private to protect your teen’s emotional health, and on top of that, sexting is also illegal. If a minor is caught with inappropriate images, they could be charged with child pornography, even if they are the subject of the picture.
Even a small act like passing around inappropriate pictures of others could be a type of bullying that may be punishable by law. If your teen is a participant in a sexting activity, she could be in danger of punishment through both school and state or federal law.
It is our responsibility as parents to open the lines of communication about sexting. Not only does sexting put your teen at risk of legal trouble, but it will also leave her vulnerable to emotional issues like depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
About the Author:
Bethany Ramos is an expert in social media and Internet marketing that co-owns her own business, The Coffee Bump. For a great selection of the Bodum french press, check out Bethany Ramos’ website today!