Getting and using a cell phone is a right of passage for today’s teens. It’s their first taste of freedom. They can explore the digital world and communicate with their friends via video chat, social media, and text messages. At this age, most teens also start dating, using their cell phone as a means of communication. However, with many teens, especially girls, they will participate in sexting to satisfy the person they’re with. Sexting could expose teens to a world of trouble and hurt if it goes wrong. Continue reading to learn what sexting is, the signs of it, and how to deal with your teen if they are doing so.
What Is Sexting?
Sexting is when someone sends sexually explicit photos, videos, and photos using their cell phone. This is often done by those who are in a relationship to spice things up. An example of a sext could be sending a nude photo of yourself to your boyfriend However, sexting is now occurring more frequently among teens. According to DoSomething.org, 24% of High School teens (ages 14-17) and 33% of college students (ages 18-24) have participated in sexting.
There are many consequences to sexting including:
- Nude photos and videos being released online or shared with others without permission.
- If the explicit content is viewed by others, it could impact one’s mental health through embarrassment, humiliation, and bullying.
- The sender or receiver of the sexts (if a minor) could face criminal charges of sharing child pornography.
- Opens the door for the sender to be targeted by sex offenders.
Signs Your Teen Is Sexting
Secretive About Their Phone Use
There are numerous reasons why a teen may hide their phone use, one of them being sexting. If your teen is sexting, they definitely don’t want you snooping on their phone use. And they definitely don’t want you using their phone. It would be horrifying for both of you if you see any explicit messages or other content they have received or sent.
Changes In Their Behavior
Besides being overprotective of their phone, they may show other changes in their behavior. This includes being defensive and angry when you ask about their phone use, being more flirty in general, and acting rebellious.
Constantly Isolating Themselves
If your teen is sexting with someone, they will likely isolate themselves in their room when doing it. They also may not be hanging out with family and friends as often as their focus is on the person they’re flirting with.
Not Doing Well In School
In general, if a teen’s mind is on something else, it will likely impact their performance in school. This includes their grades, participating in extracurricular activities, and sport team performance. They are so focused on dating and sexting, they make that their priority instead of what should be.
How To Deal With Teen Sexting
Immediately Stop The Sexting
If you find out your teen is sexting, immediately put a stop to it! Delete and remove all traces of any sexting messages sent and received. If they will not stop sexting, block their use of messaging apps or restrict their phone use all together. Do what you can to stress that sexting is not okay.
Block The Person They’re Sexting
Whatever platform your teen is using to sext, immediately block them from communicating with the recipient. This could be on social media (like Snapchat) or via text message.
Ask Them Why They Are Sexting
As a parent, you need to try to find out why your teen is sexting. Are they just in love with the person they’re dating? Or are they under peer pressure by their friends or the person they’re dating? Understanding their motivation for sexting will help you properly manage your teen’s phone use.
Monitor Their Phone Use
To make sure they aren’t sexting any longer or in contact with the recipient anymore, you should regularly monitor their phone use. This includes their texts, photo and videos taken, social media activities, and more. Many parental monitoring apps, like Highster Mobile, can help you regularly keep an eye on your teen’s phone use with ease.
Talk To Them About Online Safety
To ensure they don’t put themselves in danger again, teach them the essential of online, texting, and social media safety. Some general rules include not talking with strangers online, only friending people you know on social media, and when in doubt, ask your parents for help.
Sexting is something all parents should never overlook when it comes to their teenager. If their explicit photos or videos were to get distributed online, it could impact them for the rest of their life.