Sexting: keep your teen aware of the consequences.

Sexting: keep your teen aware of the consequences.

“Hey cutie, want to share nudes?” This is a conversation your teen could be having with another teen in their class or school!

With the increase in cell phone usage, technology and mobile apps our world is getting smaller and more connected every day. A form of flirting with technology and cell phones? Sexting.

One in seven teens have reported that they are sending sexts, and one in four of are receiving sexts in a study conducted around the world. Boys and girls are participating in sexts equally. However, older teens are sending sexts more than tweens.

It might seem like a new way of flirting but tweens and teens beware there are consequences.

What is sexting?

Sexting is sending sexually explicit messages, images or videos via cell phone or any electronic device. The photos and video contain nudity or show sexual acts being done.

Sexting is not limited to sharing photos and videos; sexting also includes sending in detail text messages of sexual behavior. These messages are known as “sexts.”

The problem with sexting is that it can quickly become a viral video or image through the entire school or community. Sexting can even become a run-in with the law!

Why is it a problem?

The internet is forever. Once it is on social media apps, sent to the school or on a website anyone can download that image and save it for forever. Just because everyone does it, doesn’t make it okay.

Once the sexual photo or video is shared with someone else this is now known as child pornography. There are sexting laws in place in almost every state in the United States. The charges can be anything from a minor case with counseling classes to the intent to distribute child pornography! Omaha girls and boys, these are the sexting laws in Nebraska.

This all can lead to sextortion of your teen or tween. This is when cyberbullying and revenge porn come into play. Your teen sends a sext and this person starts to blackmail them.

The person can threaten to upload it online, send it to everyone or other forms of blackmail until their demands are met from sending more pictures to meeting up for sexual favors and acts.

A shocking statistic: about 71% of sextortion cases involve victims under the age of 18 according to the Brookings Institution.

What can parents do?

As a parent, it isn’t always easy to keep track of your teens and tweens online usage. The first thing to do is start the conversation with your Omaha girls and boys.  

If your child has a smartphone, webcam or any other camera device with the ability to connect to the internet, it is time to start the conversation. It can be as simple as using a news article to a movie scene to explain sexting.

Remember, never judge your child! You simply want to know if they have ever been asked to send sexts, if other teens and tweens are doing it and if they understand it. The best thing to do is keep the dialogue open and keep judgement aside. (If they are sexting, you will need to determine the best discipline.)

Explain the notion behind a digital footprint to your child. It can be as simple as stopping to think, “is this okay?”

At the end of the day teens and tweens, this not only affects you but your parents as well. If the situation gets out of control, your parents will be finding lawyers, going to court with you and more.

It can be difficult to understand that your tween or teen could be sexting. Teens and tweens, this is not a fun and exciting way to flirt with that cute boy or girl in class either. A sext could ruin someone’s life in a matter of minutes.

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Smart Girl Society, Inc., is an Omaha-based nonprofit working to educate and inspire confident and smart Omaha girls, women and families, and to promote the benefits of social media for teens and families. We also inspire action for students to focus on their personal brand development, leadership, educational opportunities and healthy social skills. Interested in learning more? Check us out!


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