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Sexting girlIn this modern age we live in, technology has become an everyday presence in our lives. While adults use tools such as smart phones, the internet and text or email communication for work and home life, teens are taking it a step further. “Sexting,” or sexual texting, often accompanied by sexually provocative images is a dangerous new trend that is on the rise across our country.

Should your son or daughter be convicted they will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives.

Frighteningly, this trend is not limited to teenagers. Kids as young as nine or ten years of age are getting in on this new bid for popularity and social acceptance. Lacking the experience to make smart decisions in sexual behavior, today’s youth are indulging with boyfriends, girlfriends, or individuals they know only from an online presence.

Whether they are being pressured by peers, looking for romantic acceptance or even out of a misguided sense of ‘fun,’ they are doing it and parents need to be aware that it’s going on.

Why Should Parents Be Concerned?

There are a number of reasons for parents to be concerned about this newest social rage. The act of sexting can ruin a reputation, draw the attention of sexual predators or even land the individual in prison for distributing child pornography.

Even worse, should your son or daughter be convicted they will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives. This can have devastating effects on their careers, relationships and interactions with society as a whole.

What Is the Truth Behind Sexting?

Statistics are showing that 39% of all teenagers have sent or posted sexually suggestive messages. Averaging those numbers out we are seeing 37% of girls participating and topping that number are the boys coming in at an alarming 40%. But, kids aren’t stopping there.

A teen who feels they are able to go to a parent for advice is much less likely to make a snap judgment that could lead to unexpected dangers for them.

Further numbers are showing that 20% of teens overall have posted or sent nude and semi-nude photos and videos of themselves. The breakdown here is; 22% of teen girls sending images while boys are at 18%. Even more disturbing is the 11% of teen girls ages 13 to 16 who are engaging in this high risk behavior.

How To Prevent Your Child Getting Into Trouble

So then the question becomes, how can you as a parent monitor and prevent your children from being lured into this supposedly ‘acceptable‘ social hobby? Start with the basics experts suggest.

 
    • 1 – Monitor your kids’ cell phone usage. Watch for high data transfer numbers, secretive behavior when making or receiving calls/text messages and changing behavior patterns. Set up a daily, weekly or monthly routine where you have complete access to everything on their phones. There are numerous software and web services available out there as well to make your job a little easier and prevent your children from just ‘dumping’ the info before you can see it.
    • 2 – Make sure that you have profiles and passwords on your computers that restrict access to adult sites, use your browser history to track the ‘electronic’ footprints your children leave and most importantly of all, educate your children on the risks and dangers of sending out such personal items and information. You can not stress strongly enough to them that giving out addresses, phone numbers or arranging meetings is a tragedy just waiting to happen.
    • 3 – Look at your child’s maturity level before handing over that shiny, new smart phone. Most of those in the know recommend twelve as a good age to consider a cell phone for your child. However, they caution parents that even at that age their particular child still may not be ready for the responsibility.
    • 4 – Another favorite idea from counselors and behaviorists is for parents and kids to have a ‘phone use contract.’ This way your kids know what your guidelines and expectations are in advance. Other suggestions include letting the child know their cell phone belongs to you, not them. If you are still concerned, most carriers now offer an option to block phones from sending or receiving photos.

    Above all, keep lines of communication open. A teen who feels they are able to go to a parent for advice is much less likely to make a snap judgment that could lead to unexpected dangers for them.

    Technology isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Nor is our children’s desire for the newest and most hi-tech toys they can acquire. Peer pressure, social status and developing relationships will cause them to make decisions that could have long lasting consequences both legally and emotionally.

    Be One Step Ahead: Make smart choices with the service plans you choose, the age you give them access to phones and stay informed.

    These are critical steps to take when combating the rising tide of ‘sexting’ among kids.

    Above All – Be Approachable

    As long as you are open and receptive to your kids when they come to you with questions, you can then reassure them that they don’t have to make choices they don’t feel good about. In the end though, it really is all about the significant relationships between adults and children that will force this trend to slow its progression. One day your children will thank you for helping them to make smart choices and that result is worth more than the price of any expensive phone.

      taraFamilyCrime,sexting,Smart Phones,Technology,teenagers,TextingIn this modern age we live in, technology has become an everyday presence in our lives. While adults use tools such as smart phones, the internet and text or email communication for work and home life, teens are taking it a step further. “Sexting,” or sexual texting, often accompanied...Advice and Tips for Online Dating