As a parent, you want to do everything you can to protect your child from harm. But in today’s digital world, that’s not always easy. Your teenager might be engaging in risky behavior without even realizing it – like sexting.
Sexting is the sharing of sexually explicit photos or messages via electronic devices, and it’s a problem that’s on the rise among teens. In fact, 14.8% of teens between the ages of 12-17 have engaged in sexting, according to a study from Jama.
What Are the Risks of Sexting?
While sexting can be considered a form of flirting or even a way to experiment with sexuality, it also comes with some serious risks. Here are four dangers of sexting that parents need to be aware of:
1. Sexting is a Crime
In many states, sexting is considered a crime – even if the person sharing the photos or messages is a minor. That’s because child pornography laws make it illegal to create, possess, or share sexually explicit images of someone under the age of 18. If your teen is caught sexting, they could be charged with a crime.
This is a serious consequence that could have a lasting impact on your child’s life. A criminal record could make it difficult for them to get into college, find a job, or even rent an apartment.
It’s important to talk to your teen about the risks of sexting before they engage in this behavior.
Bullying is a big problem among teenagers, and sexting can be one way that bullies torment their victims. If your child’s nude or semi-nude photos end up in the hands of someone who wasn’t meant to see them, they could be subject to ridicule, embarrassment, and even blackmail.
Your teen might be pressured to send more explicit photos or messages – or even be physically harmed – if their sexts fall into the wrong hands.
Online and offline bullying can have a serious impact on your child’s mental health. If you suspect your teen is being bullied, talk to them about it and help them develop a plan to deal with the situation.
3. Leakage Can Cause Humiliation
Once a photo or message is sent, your teen has no control over where it goes next. Even if they trust the person, they’re sending it to, there’s always the chance that it could be forwarded to other people without their knowledge. Once something is out there, it’s very difficult to take back.
This can lead to serious humiliation and embarrassment, especially if the photos or messages are seen by people they know – like classmates, family members, or friends.
It’s important to remind your teen that once they hit send, they have no control over what happens next. Once something is out there, it’s very difficult – if not impossible – to take back.
Extortion is when someone threatens to share embarrassing or damaging information about you unless you do what they want. This is a real risk of sexting, as your teen could be blackmailed into sending more explicit photos or messages or even meeting up with the person who has their photos.
This is a serious – and potentially dangerous – a situation that your teen could find themselves in. If they’re being blackmailed, it’s important to talk to you or another trusted adult so you can help them deal with the situation.
How Can Parents Help?
Sexting is a big problem, but there are things parents can do to help their teens stay safe. Here are some tips:
1. Talk to Your Teen About Sexting
The first step is to talk to your teen about sexting and the risks involved. Make sure they know that sexting is a crime and that it can have serious consequences. It’s not worth the risk, no matter how tempting it might be.
2. Set Ground Rules
Sit down with your teen and set some ground rules about sexting. Let them know that it’s not acceptable and that there will be consequences if they engage in this behavior.
3. Use a Parental Control App
If you’re worried about your teen sexting, you can use a parental control app to monitor their activity and see what they’re up to on their devices. This can help you keep tabs on their activity and make sure they’re not engaging in risky behavior.
It’s one of the best things parents can do to keep their kids safe online.
Family Orbit is a parental control app that lets you see everything your child is doing on their phone, including detecting inappropriate behavior, the websites they’re visiting, and the text messages they’re sending.
It’s the perfect way to keep an eye on your child’s online activity and make sure they’re staying safe.
4. Monitor Their Social Media Accounts
Keep an eye on your teen’s social media accounts and look for any signs that they’re sharing inappropriate photos or messages. If you see anything that makes you concerned, talk to your teen about it.
From there, you can decide if you need to take further action, like using a parental control app or monitoring their activity more closely.
5. Keep the Lines of Communication Open
It’s important to keep the lines of communication open with your child, so they feel comfortable coming to you with any concerns. Let them know that they can come to you with anything, no matter what it is.
You should also let them know that you’re there to help if they ever find themselves in a difficult or dangerous situation.
Sexting is a serious issue, but it’s one that parents can help their kids avoid by talking to them about the risks and setting ground rules.
Sexting is risky behavior that can have serious consequences for your teen. As a parent, it’s important to talk to your child about the risks of sexting and help them make good decisions about their online behavior.
By following these tips, you can help keep your teen safe and make sure they’re not putting themselves at risk.