My Teenager is Sexting?!

Talk with your child about the harms of sexting
What do do if you find your child is sexting?

There are many consequences to sending nude photos. While most teenagers who send naked pictures send them to a boyfriend or girlfriend, some teenagers send these pictures to people they do not know. Either way, the pictures could be spread around the school or the Internet, leading to severe bullying. Furthermore, sexting is, in fact, illegal to persons under the age of 18.

If you find out that your child has been sexting, you may feel upset or unsure of what to do. That is normal. Please remember that it is important not to panic, and use this unfortunate discovery as an opening for wider communication. Since many adolescents become sexually active within a year of sexting, it is important to not only talk to your child about the photos being shared with others but also about pregnancy and STIs.

The big talk about teens texting

When you talk to your child about sexting, it may feel like he or she isn’t listening. She may roll her eyes, tell you that you don’t know anything, or simply ignore you. Research has shown, however, that teenagers are listening, so just keep conveying the message that your child is loved, worthy, and cherished. You may also wish to encourage your teenager to seek positive friendships. Many teenagers feel pressured into sending naked pictures, so encouraging them to value friends who will not do so is important.

If your child comes to you after sending a picture, try not to be judgmental. Try to remain calm and give them advice about safety and online privacy. You may want to discuss what made your child want to send pictures and what he or she could do if the situation presents itself again. It is not only important to talk to your teenagers when you find out that they have been sexting, but also to talk to them as soon as they have electronic devices and let them know the dangers these devices can bring to.

Your child should feel comfortable coming to you for advice

While having conversations about sex and your opinions about sexting may be uncomfortable, it is vitally important to have these conversations. It is important to know what is happening in your child’s life, but also for your child to feel comfortable coming to you if he or she needs to do so. Strictly forbidding something or taking away your child’s phone may lead to a lack of communication between the two of you. The lack of communication makes it more difficult for your child to feel comfortable coming to you for advice if something does happen, so try your best to keep an open stream of communication.

An app that allows for parental control of text messages on Android like Jiminy can help you jumpstart the conversation with your child, by giving you useful information and tips. Learn more about Jiminy here:

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