What should parents do for teen sexting?
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Part 1: Introduction
It’s no big secret that teens use their smartphones to remain connected and are quite comfortable with documenting their lives online. Posting photos, updating status, sharing texts, and being a click away from friends are the new normal for teens. However, this always-on culture creates an environment where teens can make impulsive decisions that later come back to haunt them. One example of this is sexting.
Part 2: What is teen sexting?
Teen sexting refers to when they take and send sexually revealing pictures of themselves or send sexually explicit messages via text message. Teens sext to show off, entice someone, show interest in someone, to prove commitment, or feel pressured to do so. Sending these pictures or messages is problematic, but the real challenge comes when these messages or pictures are shared broadly.
Teens see nothing wrong with sexting, especially if everyone is doing it. JAMA Pediatrics report revealed that one in seven teens engage in sexting. Meanwhile, as many as one in four teens receive sexually explicit texts and emails.
Yet, many teens don’t realize that sexting has serious consequences. The majority of the teens are not aware of the legal ramifications of underage sexting.
Part 3: Sexting risk for teens
The consequences of teen sext can range from nothing at all to extremely serious.
Here are some dangers with teen sexting.
Sexting can lead to sexual cyberbullying
Once a sext is in the cyberspace, teens lose all control over the image or text. People can share it, copy it, and use it to sexually bully teens. One example of sexual bullying is slut-shaming. Other teens make assumptions about their teen’s sexual activity and then bully them for it. Cyberbullies might even share the photos to embarrass and humiliate your teen.
Sexting constitutes child pornography
Nude pictures or partially nude pictures of minors are considered child pornography in many countries. Teens taking or sharing the photo can be charged with disseminating child pornography. On the other hand, teens receiving the photos can be charged with possession of child pornography, even if they didn’t request a copy. With this teens can be labeled as sex offenders.
Sexting opens doors to sexual predators
There is no way to control who sees or shares once the explicit photo is sent. There are countless cases when teens have discovered that a private photo sent by them has been passed around and even shared online. Once the photo is online, sexual predators see it, which puts teens at risk of being sexually exploited.
Sexting puts teens at risk of blackmail
In situations, when teens send a nude photo, they are at risk of being blackmailed. There have been cases where the recipient of the image threatens to shame the sender. Most of the teens who receive threats from blackmailer’s bow down to their demands. This is because they are embarrassed to ask for help and are at the mercy of the blackmailer.
Sexts never go away
Sometimes teens believe that photos sent through text messages, email, or Snapchat if deleted from their end is removed. However, this is not the case, once the images are sent they are out of your teen’s control. They can be shared, copied, and re-posted. So, these are some of the risks associated with teen sexting.
Part 4: What can parents do for teen sexting?
Nobody wants their child to fall victim or be the offender of a cybercrime. Parents can help teens learn to make positive and healthy choices about how they communicate using technology.
Here is some advice for parents to deal with teen sexting.
- Don’t wait for an incident to happen. Talk to your child about the consequences of teen sexting. Sure, you might feel awkward talking to your kids about sexting, but it should be a part of your chat about sexuality.
- Remind your child that once an image or message is sent, it can never be retrieved and they lose control of it.
- Let teens know that you understand how they can be pushed or dared into sending something explicit. Ask about what kind of things their peers are sharing online and if they ever feel pressured to join in. Tell them that no matter how big the social pressure is, the potential social humiliations can be worse.
- Talk about what to do if they receive a sext. Teens don’t like to get their peers in trouble; they hide things from parents to avoid being labeled as the one who alerts the adults. Talk to your kids about getting help from a trusted adult if they receive explicit content in a message, email, or through social media.
- Be open and honest with your kids whenever they share their experiences with you. This is important because it is difficult for teens to come forward about this behavior, but if they do, listen to them without judgment and provide support.
- You can use a parental control app to keep an eye on your teen and get notified when any inappropriate adult content is received or sent. FamiSafe is the best parental control app to use here.
Part 5: How FamiSafe will help
For parents, not knowing where your kids are or if they are safe is quite an anxiety-inducing. Yet they have to deal with that anxiety every day and send their kids out in the world. Parents can never truly know what kids are up to when they are out of sight. In this age of technology, kids spent a lot of time online sharing pictures, messages, and texting. There are instances when they are subjected to cyberbullying, pornographic content, and a number of other harmful activities. FamiSafe can help protect you. Wondershare FamiSafe is a reliable all-in-one parental control app designed to help parents keep track of their children and their online activities 24/7.
Here are the features to help you.
- Monitor App Usage – It’s easy for children to get addicted to certain mobile apps, especially social media related like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. As parents, it is important to ensure that their lives aren’t lead completely through the screens. Parents can help enforce that by setting up time periods on the usage of apps or completely block them. Also, parents get a complete log of all the activities and apps accessed by the kids.
- Web Content Filtering – The Internet can be a useful space, but it is also full of pornographic and violent content that can be damaging to children. With a web content filtering feature, you can block out all the suspicious or unwanted sites.
- Suspicious Text Detection – Teen sexting is on the rise and to keep your teen safe online suspicious text detection feature is very helpful. It enables you to detect inappropriate words used by your teen or received. You get alerts on offensive words in your kid’s SMS, Messenger, WhatsApp, or social media. You can also add offensive words to get alerts and save your kids from cyberbullying.
- Screen Time and Smart Schedule – Set a screen time limit on the app you don’t want your kids to use more often. This helps kids build focus during school or homework time and get a night of better sleep. This feature also allows you to strike a balance between spending time doing homework or other activities and use the spare time to interact with their devices.
FamiSafe helps you keep an eye on your kids and protect them from pornography, online predators, cyberbullying, and other threats.
With that in mind, here are steps to set up the FamiSafe account.
Step 1 – Install FamiSafe
The first step to getting started with protecting your kids online is to install the FamiSafe app, both on your and your kid’s device.
Step 2 – Register
Open the already installed app either on your or your kid’s device and register for the FamiSafe account. The same account can be used on both devices.
Step 3 – Set up the Account
On kid’s device
Login to your account and choose the identity as a kid on the kid’s device and fill in the name and age. Grant necessary permissions to FamiSafe such as to permit app usage access, activate device administrator, activate location tracking, and app supervision.
On parent’s device
Log into your account and choose Parent. Connect to your kid’s device and start monitoring your kid’s online activities remotely.
Part 5: Conclusion
These are the consequences of teen sexting and how to protect your child online. Educating your teens on the legal and emotional consequences of sexting helps them know about the risks involved. This also helps avoid engaging in the behavior at all. You can keep a tab on sexting using the FamiSafe app and apart from that set screen time schedules, geo-fencing, block apps, and prevent online bullying.