Sexting is sending semi nude or nude photos of your body, to someone via cellphone text messaging. Sexting is becoming a popular trend among teens. However, this is not just a teen issue, as adults are doing it too. When sexting, a person usually sends a photo of their semi nude or nude body to a boyfriend or girlfriend. However, more often then not, it doesn’t stop there. Photos are then sent on to classmates, friends and even loaded to the Internet.
Teens don’t seem to understand there are effects of sexting. The effects of sexting are wide spread from school ground taunting to legal issues that the courts are dealing with. Courts now have the responsibility of dealing with children pornography in the hands of minors. Some courts have begun sending a strong message, having teens register as sex offenders.
The key to stopping your teen from sexting is communication. As a parent, it’s hard to know what is going on everyday and all day, which is why keeping the lines of communication open is important. This not only goes for cell phones but the Internet too. If your teen knows you have their passwords or are able to monitor their information, even if you don’t. They are less likely to risk bad behavior.
There are a few things you can do to keep control over your teens cell phone. The most obvious would be not to give your teen a cell phone. If they are going on a date or out of town for a sports meet, let them use yours for those few hours. If that’s not possible, consider a prepaid cell phone or a phone just for those occasions. Make sure that’s the only time they have access to it and then, check the activity when they return.
When purchasing a cell phone for your teen to use, consider phones without the camera feature. This will not only prevent them from sexting, it will prevent them from receiving such photos, too.
Also, consider cell phones and service providers with parent controls. Phones can be set to only call select numbers, only work at certain times of the day and other important parent control features. Most phones will always allow you to call 911 regardless of what parent control features are activated.
Consider where that cellphone is at all times. Beware that you can control the teens cellphone, however, photos are uploaded to the Internet. The cell phone and the computer should not be located in the teen (or child’s) bedroom. They can talk to their friends semi privately in common rooms of the home. Their computer related homework or activities can be done in a common room of the house. Children and teens don’t need complete privacy to that technology because there are people that will target them. Again, if they know you can just glance and see what they are doing, the less likely they are to be involved in things they shouldn’t.
As a parent, you should know whom your child is calling, texting and sending pictures to. As a parent, you should be looking at your teens Internet activity. As a parent, you should know their MySpace, Facebook and other profiles around the Internet. You should be viewing their profiles regularly. If there is an issue, you should talk to your teen immediately, then make sure they change their profile. It’s a good idea to have a list of their passwords too. If you think something is going on, don’t expect they will tell you when you ask. If you feel they didn’t tell you everything, then use the passwords. Also, know the email accounts the profiles are linked to, in the event the password is changed and you have to retrieve it.
As parents, it’s our jobs to protect our children and teens. We can’t be with them every moment of every day, that is why communication is key. Teens have pressures and opportunities, it seems everywhere. They make choices without thinking about their futures. Talk to your children. If you think something isn’t right, don’t wait until something happens, that’s often to late.