It’s Time to Talk to Your Teen About SextingFeb 07, 2024
By: Janiyah Gaston, Seasonal Public Relations Intern | Digital4Good
When you’re a parent, talking to your teen about sensitive topics like sex can be a little awkward. But in today's world of social media and easy access to misinformation, it's really important to have this conversation with your child early on. Sexting, which is sending sexually explicit photos, videos, or messages to someone else, has become a common thing among teens. While sexting might seem harmless at first, it has big risks and can have lasting consequences.
Why Have the Sexting Conversation Now?
The teenage years are a time of lots of emotions, social pressure, and starting to get interested in dating. With all of this stuff going on, it's important to have the sexting conversation early on so that you can help your teen make smart decisions and protect themselves from harm.
How to Start the Conversation
Pick a Private Spot: Find a quiet, comfy place where you and your teen can have an uninterrupted conversation. Don't talk about this sensitive topic in public or around other family members.
Listen Actively: Approach the conversation with empathy and an open mind. Listen carefully to your teen's questions and concerns without judging or interrupting them.
Don't Shame Them: Avoid using accusatory language that can make your teen feel ashamed about their curiosity or experiences. This will only make them less likely to open up and come to you for advice in the future.
Be Direct and Honest: Be direct and honest about the risks and consequences of sexting, including the possibility of privacy breaches, emotional blackmail, and even legal trouble.
What to Talk About
What Sexting Is: Make sure your child understands that sexting is more than just sending sexual text messages; it also includes sharing explicit photos and videos.
Consent and Respect: Emphasize the importance of getting consent before doing any kind of sexting. Explain that pressuring or coercing someone into sexting is never okay.
Know the Risks: Talk about the possible risks of sexting, such as the fact that once something is shared online, it can't be taken back, the possibility of privacy breaches, and the risk of cyberbullying, revenge porn, or blackmail.
Know Who to Talk To: If your teen ever feels pressured or threatened, let them know that they can always come to you or another trusted adult for help.
Additional Resources and Support
Local Authorities: If your teen is being pressured into sexting or is facing threats related to shared content, contact your local authorities immediately.
Cyberbullying Prevention Organizations: Seek guidance from organizations that specialize in preventing and addressing cyberbullying, including sexting-related issues.
Mental Health Professionals: Consider seeking professional counseling or therapy if your teen is experiencing emotional distress or trauma related to sexting.
You can't make decisions for your teen, but you can help them make good decisions by teaching them the right things. By having open and honest conversations about sexting, providing clear guidelines, and fostering a supportive environment, you can help your teen make informed decisions that support their safety and well-being.
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