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Teen Sexting in 2012: Possible Consequences Parents Can Expect With the Advent of Smartphones

by CHWatch on January 14, 2012

As technology advances, parents of teens find themselves faced with new challenges with each generation. From drug awareness to sexual activity, new technology brings with it a new twist on age-old issues. Today, smartphones have taken teenage sex lives to a whole new level and it is something parents need to be on the alert for in 2012 if they allow their adolescent child to have these status symbol devices they can feasibly have with them nearly everywhere they go.

SEXting

Sexting is the term used for explicit sexual text message conversations and image sharing. It can technically be considered safe sex because there is no actual physical contact involved and therefore the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy is zero, but it can one day lead to traditional sexual activity and puts teens in danger as they share photos and information that can possibly fall into the wrong hands or be used against them.

    In some states, sharing sexually explicit pictures of teens through text or the internet is considered child pornography and a felony crime.

    Teenage boys can use nude images of an ex-girlfriend as revenge. If the breakup was a particularly bad one, some have no qualms about sharing the photo with their entire male (and even female) contact list, ruining both her reputation and often his own life.

In 2009, 18-year-old Florida teen Philip Alpert had just argued with his 16-year-old girlfriend of 2 1/2 years. In a rash middle-of-the-night decision he chose to send a naked picture she had sent him to members of her family, as well as countless friends. Alpert ended up arrested and pleading no contest to child pornography charges, which resulted in him being sentenced to five years probation and forcing him to register as a sex offender. He realizes his act was wrong, but will remain on the Florida sex offender list for 20 years and possibly longer if his petition two decades from now to be removed is denied.

Teen sexting is not a unique activity and a 2010 poll showed 13% of Boston high school students had sent sexual messages, while one in 10 Boston teens had sent sexual messages or content via cell phone or internet. Other polls have showed sexting linked to feelings of despair or depression, as well as teen suicide, suggesting the activity may be linked to feelings of low self-esteem. Parents need to pay specific attention their teen’s mental state of mind, as the Boston survey showed that some teen girls had begun cutting themselves if a revealing picture they had sent a boy was shared with others. Other young girls reported shame in texting led them to eating disorder tendencies.

While smartphones offer a convenience factor to both parents and teens as they are able to keep in touch in ways they never have before, they also offer a danger factor that parents can try to limit with boundaries. Unlimited texting plans are unnecessary, as well as unlimited phone access. Rules can be put in place that phones have to be handed to parents each evening, whether the teen likes it or not. And most teens will not like it, but in 2012 that is often something parents need to enforce for both the safety and mental well-being of their teenager.

About Author: My name is Nisha Sharma, I am the Editor for FireSafetyStore.co.uk. If you would like to find out more information about fire safety products, such as fire blankets, fire extinguishers, or for safety items around the home feel free to visit my site.

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