From all the news we hear about the scale and extent of digital threats to which young people are exposed, it is clear that parents have the right to think about the types of activities that young people conduct online and over the phone. It is normal for all parents to be concerned about what their child could do. While adolescents may not be happy with this, parents have a responsibility to know what’s going on and to avoid mistakes in children’s digital lives.
The rise of sexting
If you’ve never heard of sexting, you will likely do so in the near future. Sexting is the sending or receiving of a sexually graphic or descriptive text message. Studies show that teen sexting is on the rise, and many parents are completely ignoring it.
Short facts about sexting:
11% of young people admit they have sent photos to strangers (Cox Communications)
80% of teens with gender are under 18 (Cox Communications)
More than half (57%) of the teens in a 2012 survey said they were asked to submit a Sext (JAMA).
12% of teenage girls feel compelled to have sex (The National Campaign)
38% of teenage girls and 39% of teenage girls say they have shared sexually stimulating text messages or emails originally intended for someone else (The National Campaign).
Research has shown that teens who have sex or want to send a text message are more likely to have sex than their peers.
Clearly, this is a problem that parents should tackle before discovering that their child has sexual problems.
Why do teens do this?
There are several reasons teens practice sexting. Some may feel compelled to do so and then give in to this pressure. Others are only interested in sex and use sexting as a basis to learn more about sexual activity. Either way, it’s risky behavior that can get any vulnerable teen in trouble.
Parents are coming now
Ask your teen face-to-face if he or she has sexual activity or sex. If you find that it is sexting, take action by explaining all the ways sexting can harm you. Let teens know that they are paying sexually and emotionally for sex. When sexual images fall into the wrong hands, what may have started as innocent pleasure has suddenly deteriorated.
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