Sexting

Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages, photographs or video via text message. Kids "sext" to show off, to entice someone, to show interest in someone, or to prove commitment. The problem with that is that the moment the relationship ends (and most of them do) someone is in possession of a highly compromising image that can be easily posted on a social networking site or sent around via email or text.

Stay Safe:

Talk with your children about the consequences of sexting both legal and social. Legally someone involved with creating, sending or even receiving a nude or sexually explicit photo of someone under 18 can be charged with production, distribution, or possession of child pornography. Socially once a file has been sent digitally it is almost impossible to get back and can show up at other locations. Public embarrassment and ruined reputations are usually the results. The person who forwards sexts also loses a friend's trust.

What do you tell your child? If a sexting photo gets sent to a kid's phone, in most cases, he or she should just delete it. Certainly tell your child never to forward a "sext." At the very least that's truly mean to and disrespectful of peers; it also amplifies the problem and could potentially be seen as trafficking in child porn. Also talk with them about the social pressures they may face about sexting. Help them understand that no matter how big the social pressure is the consequences will be much worse.

Additional Resources:

Sexting primer for parents: In case some basics would help
An article to help parents understand the consequences of sexting.

Talking About "Sexting"
When people take sexually revealing picture of themselves and send them as text message attachments, it's called "sexting." Find out how to help you kids avoid sexting from Common Sense Media.

Self Taken Images - 'Sexting'
Information for Teens about Sexting from ThinkUKnow. Includes a fantastic video "Exposed".

Sexting
Information, tips and discussion starters from NetSmartz.