Teen Sexting: How to Prevent Your Teen from Engaging in Sexting

Teen sexting is a phrase that implies a teen uses their cell phones to have sexual intimacy with their partners. But unlike phone sex, cell phones come with cameras where minor children can take lewd pictures of themselves and send them through the phone to their partner. The partner then has a copy of a picture that is considered child pornography by the law. They can also choose to send the picture anywhere because as soon as it is downloaded to the phone, it is their file to control. Here are some tips on how parents can prevent their teen from sexting:

Talk to Your Teen About Sexting

Explain the difference between flirting and sex talk. Flirting is when you pay attention to someone you like and say nice things. Sex talk is when you talk intimately with your partner and say things you would say if you were petting or having sex. "Do you want to see my bra?" or "Can I see your bra?" is not an example of flirting. It is a sexual invitation or tease that would happen when two people are engaging in heavy petting. It is not cute or funny to send a message like that. It is inappropriate and your teen needs to know this by you giving them that clear message.

Be sure to bring up the point that a naked or suggestive picture taken and sent can never be taken back. It is out there for all to see including all of your teen's friends, their boss, their teachers, the media, perverts and their grandparents. The picture will be out there today, tomorrow and ten years from now when they are applying for jobs.

Remember your teen is a minor and remind them as well.

There are laws that protect minor children from adults who would sexual exploit or abuse them. They are very important laws. But now we have the new phenomena of teens given the ability to share naked pictures of themselves and the immaturity of some teenagers to pass these pictures on to their entire friends list. This isn't the activity that the laws were written for, but they are the laws that govern the teen sexting problem.

There is more than one young man who is paying for the rest of his life because he chose to forward a naked picture of his girlfriend when he got angry at her. They are placed on the child sex abuser lists and have to comply with all of those rules and regulations. It may not be right, but it is what can happen. Your teen needs to be warned.

Use a Cell Phone Contract With a Clause About Sexting

Setting limits and creating rules on something that you will need to trust your teen is going to use correctly while you are not there - because you won't be - takes an awful lot of clear communication. It needs to be written down to be remembered, by both you and your teen.

A cell phone contract, will give your teen some say in the limits imposed and help them become independent in successfully dealing with technology and society, something this generation of teens needs to do. Place a clause in the contract that includes the consequences of sexting. Be sure your teen understands that you will take their phone and failure to hand it over will mean they lose the use of the phone totally.

Because children as young as 5-years-old are using cellphones, you will need to change the cellphone contract as your child gets older - even as your teen goes from age 14-years-old to 17-years-old because of more mature social development. But I respectfully submit to all parents to talk to their children about what is and what is not 'good talk' for phones.

Just Say No! to Teen Sexting or Sending Naked or Inappropriate Pictures

Just like you do when you say 'No way!' to your teen using drugs, do not allow them to take an inappropriate or naked picture of themselves. This includes scantily clad photos. Set a rule that all pictures you deem inappropriate need to be deleted from the phone immediately in order to have continued use. Your teen is going to scoff at that, just remind them that the phone is a privilege that needs to be earned by following the rules that you both agreed to.

Understand the Social Pressure Your Teen is Under

Teens are sexting and they are keeping very quiet about it. Much like parents never finding out what happens in the back seats of cars at Look Out Point when your teen is supposed to be at the movies. Role play with your teen or give them an out and be the scape goat if they need one to save face with their peers. If your teen comes to you with the problem of someone wanting to go too far using their cell phone, help them. Be the adviser and support their efforts to stand their ground.

If you find out after the fact and your teen blames peer pressure for the incident, be understanding but follow through with the consequences agreed to in the cell phone contract in your sexting clause.

Follow through and check up on your teen. Are they sexting?

Teens who know that their parent are going to check their phones will not be sexting for fear of having to pay the consequences. These teens tell their boyfriends or girlfriends, "I can't do that. My mom will see it!" Many of these teens find it a relief to have their parents to blame and it keeps their peers from bugging them about it. So, following through with checking up on your teen after agreeing to the rules in a cell phone contract is the best way to prevent your teen from using their cell phone for sexting.

Continue Reading