So much has changed since we were teens (you know, the dark ages..) If we, as parents don’t address the current issues in our teens lives, they will get this information elsewhere. The problem with that is, it often leaves our kids misinformed.
Sex-ting amongst our teens is on the rise. It is a term that refers to the sending of nude, partially nude or sexually suggestive images or text. There are a number of reasons that explain why this occurs. Often, teenagers get involved in sexting as a result of peer pressure or a need to fit in. A boyfriend or girlfriend may ask for images to be sent, or in some cases the teen may send the images without prompting or encouragement. In other cases, a teen may send a picture as a prank or to get the attention of a person that they are attracted to.
Statistics show that approximately 30 percent of teens between the ages of 13 and 19 have sent nude images of themselves to others.
Sexting among youth is more prevalent than previously thought, with the majority of young people turning to sex-ting as a way of communicating with peers.
What many teens don’t take into account is that a sext can swiftly spread beyond the person that it was intended for. Once an image is sent, there are no guarantees that the person who received it will keep it private or even delete it.
In some cases, the recipient may forward the images to others on his or her contact list or the images may end up on the Internet. Once an image is on the Internet, it can remain there for the indefinite future and become available for anyone to view.
As a result, the teenager in the images can end up ostracized by their peers, humiliated and even threatened. This can cause problems in school, within the family, and it may even result in depression.
Sexting can also continue to negatively impact a person beyond their high school years. Images online can follow a person into college or they may be seen by future employers, potential relationships and even a person’s future children may eventually come across them.
For the person that receives and spreads the images, there are a number of legal ramifications. Because the images are of minors, the spreading of nude or partially nude photos may violate child pornography laws. As a result a person can be found guilty of distributing child pornography and may even have to register as a sex offender. Even the person that sends the images may be charged with the distribution of child pornography.
If parents can keep an open discussion going at home about sexting and the dangers it poses, teens will be less likely to engage in this activity if they are aware of the legal issues they may face.