Dictionary.com Definition – Sexting : the sending of sexually explicit messages or images by cell phone.
I’m prompted to write this post because of the sexting investigation going on in Colorado and a local case at Lincoln High School in San Jose. If you haven’t talked with your kids about this subject then start now – and talk often.
There are many reasons why we as parents don’t want to talk with our kids about subjects like sexting. I know first hand that for some of us, our kids wouldn’t agree with us even if we said the sky was blue. And for some parents it is difficult to talk about subjects such as sexting because they are uncomfortable with the subject; think their kids are too young or don’t believe that ‘my child’ could be involved with something like this.
Well your kids might surprise you if you try for a discussion instead of a lecture. As for being ‘too young’ according to a NY Times article “Hundreds of Nude Photos Jolt Colorado School”, some of the kids in Colorado may be in middle school.
Why You Should Talk With Your Kids About Sexting As Soon As Possible
You want to talk with your kids about sexting before their friends do. Sexting from the point of view of a tween/teen is very different than that of a parent (school teacher, police officer or the legal system). By talking to your kids early and often you have the opportunity to get your version of why they shouldn’t participate in their heads.
Make Your Kids Aware of the Consequences
Sexting seems to be here to stay or until (God help us!) the next ‘thing’ comes along. Setting consequences and discussing them with your kids gives them an ‘out’ when the subject is broached by their peers. As my kids have expressed it “Are you kidding me? Have you met my Mom?!? She’d bust me and then tell YOUR folks.”
Please Help Our Daughters
Help our daughters to be strong and make good decisions. One of the concerns expressed in the Canyon City High investigation is that the younger girls may have been pressured by older boys to take part in the sexting activities. Talk with your girls about how they feel about themselves and their expectations for themselves and their friends.
Only You Can Make It Personal
What resonates with your kids? No one knows your kids like you do. So what is it that is important to them that you can use to make this topic important to them? For example, when talking to your son, how would he feel if someone sent pictures of his sister?
Do your kids realize that after they have sent a picture, they have no control over who sees (or receives) it? Would you trust your enemy with a picture such as this? Don’t be afraid to bring humor into the conversation if that will help. Do you remember this line…”Come on, you would if you love me.” Talk with your kids about what to do when someone tries to use this line on them.
What Else Can You Talk About?
I know that my kids don’t talk to me about everything. What teen does? But by being open about what my kids can talk to me (and my husband) has made it easier for them to talk to us about other events and important subjects in their lives.
Other Resources for Information About Sexting
Here are a few other locations for more information about sexting and talking to your kids about being safe online.