Conversations with children about sex often can be awkward and uncomfortable.
And now, sexting—sending sexually explicit messages, photos or videos using mobile devices—has found its way into our daily lives. While sexting makes headlines all over the place, it seems to be having the most negative impact on children and teens.
Twenty-two percent of high school-aged teens have been involved in some form of nude sexting. In addition to students sending inappropriate photos, among 14-29 year olds who admit to sexting, 29% of them admit to sending their nude photos to someone they’ve never physically met.
The numbers increase drastically when considering sexually explicit messages that don’t involve nudity. 40% of all teens have posted sent some form of sexually suggestive message at least once.
Exploring the Resolve
Technology plays such a large role in our society that it can be difficult to imagine having any level of control over how children and teens use their mobile devices. Still, there are ways to help redirect the attention of young teens and children who are convinced that sexting is a part of everyday life. Here are a few suggestions on redirecting the behavior.
- Get comfortable having the conversation about sexting.
- Set boundaries for mobile phone use and consequences for misuse.
- Monitor usage and address any inappropriate behavior.
- Review the negative consequences and effects of sexting.
Helping children understand the implications of sending sexually explicit photos is extremely important to fostering responsible and confident adults. When sexting goes wrong, the impact can be detrimental to a child’s self esteem and future, so it is important to help them be more forward-thinking and consider the consequences before hitting send.