Some have called it the new “birds and bees” chat. Whatever you call it though, the mere idea of talking to your teen about sexting is likely enough to get your stomach turning. Like the real sex talk, however, it's a necessary, if uncomfortable, discussion to have. The truth is, sexting isn't just child's play. It can have real, lasting effects on your teenager's life, including their relationships, emotional health, and reputation. It can even compromise their ability to get into college, land a job, and divert criminal prosecution. That's right. In many states, sexting is a crime. When you do get up enough courage to initiate the conversation (and let's hope it's soon), here's what to say.
Sexting Isn't New
Well, it is and it isn't. Although sending naked pictures to someone else via a digital device might be a new trend, guys and gals have been flashing each other for centuries. It's important to let your child know that you're not a prude and you're not ignorant. Otherwise, they won't listen to a thing you have to say.
Sexting is Permanent
Whereas flashing a member of the opposite sex was certainly frowned upon in the past, it was far less dangerous than sexting. Why? Because it existed only in the moment. When you send a picture of yourself to someone via a mobile phone or PC, however, they can do with it what they please and keep it for…well, forever if they want to. Once your child understands this, the potential repercussions of sexting will start to sink in.
Watch This Video
Let's face it. You can talk until you're blue in the face, and hopefully, some of what you say will get through to your teen, but he or she is much more likely to listen to a peer than a parent. Perhaps that's why the video “Exposed” is so powerful. Watching it with your child is a great way to begin or end a conversation about sexting.
Have you had the talk with your teen yet? If not, what are you waiting for?