My husband and I were shocked to find our daughter partially nude in a ‘Selfie” photograph she had on her mobile phone and forced her to admit that she had sent it to her boyfriend, and a couple of her girlfriends. We were horrified to learn that this behaviour is called “sexting”. We took her phone away from her and have grounded her for 2 weeks till we learn what we have to do to deal with this situation. We have booked in to see a counsellor but we would like to hear what you have to say about it?
I commend you for seeking advice. The first thing I suggest you do is calm down and quietly explain to your daughter the consequences of “sexting”. Most teenagers act on impulse thus they often do this without thinking or understanding the consequences. Explain to your daughter that Sexting has some serious consequences not only for the person taking and sending the photos, but also for the person on the receiving end. There are emotional and sometimes legal consequences if the photos are of minors and end up in the wrong hands. Once a photo becomes public and distributed around to others, the sender can end up feeling embarrassed, humiliated and even cyber-bullied by other teenagers who call them vulgar names and ostracise them. This action has had some very tragic results. Many times, when a sexual image becomes public, friendships dissolve leaving the teenager feeling betrayed and alone. At the end of the day, many teenagers regret having done so which can impact on their self -esteem. Nude photos also open up the possibility of sexual assault by those who assume the sender will be a willing participant.
Most children think their parers are foolish, particularly about technology. So become techno savvy. There are resources that you can use to check up on your children’s phones, be resourceful and use them if you are suspicious that your child is setting themselves up for dangerous or destructive consequences.