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The dangers of sexting

The Dangers of Sexting

8 Things You & Your Teen Need to Know about Sexting

  1. Sexting is the sending or receiving of sexual, explicit, or sexually suggestive images, messages, or video. It usually happens digitally through texts, emails, or instant messages
  2. There’s no way to know exactly how many teens are sexting, but some studies show the number is as high as 20%
  3. Teens who sext are more likely to engage in other sexual behavior
  4. Teens send sexts to flirt, as a joke, or because they feel pressured
  5. Disappearing messages (such as those in Facebook’s Secret Converations or Snapchat) can be copied, screen captured, or photographed and shared with others.
  6. The possible consequences of sexting are: public humiliation, cyberbullying, school suspension, or even criminal charges
  7. If someone sends a sexy photo the best resopnse is to delete it. Sharing or saving it could lead to legal problems
  8. The best way to prevent sexting is to talk to your teens about it before it happens

How do I talk to my teens about sexting?

View Source: Common Sense Media

We’d all like to simply say, “Just don’t do it.” But for many teens, their cell phones are never more than an arm’s length away, and, like it or not, sexual experimentation is a part of growing up. The combination could lead to risky decisions in a world where anything digitized can become public.

Although experts differ on statistics, a 2009 study conducted by Pew Internet & American Life Project confirms sexting is a teen reality that’s here to stay. So how do you address it with your teens? Download our handbook for ideas on discussing the issue with kids. Also:

  • 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.
  • 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 hundreds of times worse.
  • Teach your children that the buck stops with them. If someone sends them a sexy 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, there could be legal implications.
  • Check out It’s a teen-friendly website 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 this issue.
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