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Sexting Is Dangerous

Cell phones and other mobile technology provide convenient ways for parents and kids to stay in touch. However, with technology, comes responsibility.

Sexting, text messages that contain inappropriate sexual content, has become more prevalent in recent years as teenagers increase their use of mobile technology.

What is Sexting?

Sexting occurs when a person takes a picture that's nude, seminude, or flirtatious and sends it to another person over the phone. Sexting can also be defined as sending texts, photos, or a combination of text and photos that are sexual in nature. If you don't think your teen is sexting, you might want to think again. Cyber bullying statistics reveal that one in five teens have either sent or received a sexting message. Teens often view sexting as silly, but they need to understand how inappropriate it is and how dangerous it can be.

Why Is Sexting So Dangerous?

  • Sexting can ruin a child's reputation and cause serious emotional and psychological problems. Once a photo is electronically uploaded, it's forever out of your teen’s control. An angry ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend can post it publicly for all to see, which could have long-term consequences. There have been some recent cases of teens committing suicide because they were so distressed over images that were sent out that embarrassed and humiliated them.
  • Sexting is prohibited under child pornography laws. Your child could be arrested and convicted of child pornography trafficking for sending and/or receiving sexually-oriented text messages regardless of how unintentional and innocent the sexting may have been.
  • Sexting can open the door to pedophiles. Pedophiles have been known to use photos to blackmail children into having sex with them to prevent further distribution.

What Can You Do to Keep Your Teen Safe from Cyberbullies?

  • Keep an open dialogue. You need to be as open and clear as possible with your child about the consequences involved with teenage sexting. The more open you are with them on this subject, the better you can protect them.
  • Talk about the dangers. Discuss current news stories and events that involve sexting. Making sure your teen understands that sexting is not okay and that it is very dangerous.
  • Purchase cell phone monitoring software. If you just don't want to take any chances, there are a number of companies that sell monitoring software that allows you to monitor your teen’s activities from your own computer. With the software, you'll know exactly what your teen has been doing with her phone.
  • Enter into a cell phone use agreement with your kids so the ground rules are clearly spelled out.

Informed teens and tweens are less likely to get into trouble. Keep your teen safe from sexting and from the accusation of sexting by giving her all of the information she needs to avoid improper cellphone use.