Sexting 101 for Parents [Guest Post]

By AJ Kumar is the founder of the blog Persuasive.net the fastest way to learn persuasive communication. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Sexting is a relatively new acting being performed by adults from the late twenties down to kids in their pre-teens. Primarily used with cell phones, sexting allows one person to share explicit images or messages with someone else. Sexting has become more so a consequence to the advancement in technology.

Seeing as there are about 1,000 new cell phone users every minute, it is no wonder the age of new cell phone users are dropping to as low as 12 year olds. It was only 5 or 6 years ago when having a cell phone in high school was extremely rare, but now it is even common amongst middle school students.

Adults who provide their kids with cell phones with the good intention of being safe are shocked with what kids are now able to do. Most adults do not even fathom the possibility of sexting.  Teenage Research Unlimited surveyed 1200 students about “sexting.” One out of every five students told researchers they had used their cell phones to send explicit photos of themselves.

Consequences

The consequences of sexting amongst teens and tweens are pretty obvious. Regret and child pornography are just to name a couple.

Regret

High school relationships are usually anything but relationships. It is a time to explore, play the field, and get a little experience under your belt (figuratively speaking). A girl may send an explicit nude picture to her boyfriend or a boy may send an explicit nude photo to his girlfriend.  Imagine someone else having the most embarrassing image possible (nude) at the palm of their hands. Now that is a scary thought of what it can do to your reputation. Many relationships during your teens last from a couple of months to a mere few weeks.  A racy picture of you in the hands of and ex can be a gruesome enough thought to take your mind off everything else.

Jesse Logan, an 18 year old girl from Ohio sent nude pictures of herself via text messaging to her boyfriend.  After the couple had broken up, the boyfriend decided to get revenge by forwarding those pictures to several other girls in their school.  The girls began to call Jesse names like “slut” and “whore” which resulted in Jesse loosing focus in everything and even started to ditch some of classes. Jesse was ridiculed to the point where she needed to end her life.  She committed suicide by hanging herself her room

A profile case that most of you have probably heard of was Disney star Vanessa Hudgins who sent a nude picture of herself to her boyfriend and co-star Zac Effron.  This incident could have ruined the career of the up and coming High School Musical star for good. Vanessa’s intent was obviously innocnetn adn teh picture just leaked into the wrong hands.

Child Pornography

Since kids as young as 12 have jumped on this sexting bandwagon, there have been a handful of chil porn litigations. Even if the acts are arguably innocent, explict pictures involving anyone under 18 will lead to a child pornography crime.

Recently, there was a man who at the was 20 years old dating a girl who was 17. The man took a nude photo of his girlfriend on his cell phone. The couple broke but under good circumstances and the photo remained in the man’s cell phone.  The man’s new girlfriend found the photo and reported it to the ex-girlfriend’s parents.  Even though the intent was mutual and harmless, the man was charged with child pornography.  Due to acts of stupidity and negligence, he will be a registered sex offender for a very long time.

In a more extreme case, two teenage boys, 15 and 18 are being prosecuted with child pornograph. The police found pictures of nude juviniles, inlcuding one from elementry school in the boys’ cell phones.

Talk to Your Kids About Sexting

Talking to your kids about the heinas acts of sexting is as important as talking to your child about online predators. Regardless of a child’s intent, sexting can lead to jail or even something unfortunate enough as death.  Let you child know about how dangerous it is to take or keep explicit nude pictures of themselves or of others.  Teach your child about having respect for their body because a nude picture of them can ruin their entire future.

  • Tell your child that after an image is sent, it cannot be retrieved. Also, it can be sent to a vast audience and spread like wildfire.  Ask them questions like:
    • “How would you feel if a picture of you was sent to all your friends at school?”
    • “What would you do if your teachers found out you taking nude photos?”
  • Peer pressure does not only apply to forcing a kid to smoke anymore.  Peer pressure from a boyfriend/girlfriend can influence you to take explicit nude photos and it to them. Let your child know a life time of humiliation is far worse than one person not liking you anymore.
  • Limit the amount of text messages your child is able to send out. Call your cell phone provider to discuss what they can do on their end.
  • Talk to your child about what can happen using the stories mentioned above.
  • Pay attention and be aware of any signs of your child doing anything out of the ordinary.
  • If you child is dating someone, do not get in the way, but talk to your child so they are comfortable to come to you if they face any challenges.

By AJ Kumar is the founder of the blog Persuasive.net the fastest way to learn persuasive communication. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Sexting: Think Your Teens are Innocently Texting a Friend? « Dr. Robyn Silverman’s Blog - August 4, 2009

    […] Sexting 101 for Parents […]

Leave a Reply