How to sext? Today’s Sexting Trends and Their Potential Dangers
These days, many children and teens alike have access to some form of handheld communication device. Whether it be a tablet or smartphone, these devices can easily be used to send messages, pictures, videos, and other forms of communication to others. And while these technological devices certainly come with their advantages (such as allowing parents to easily contact their children or allowing children/teens to do conduct research for school), the fact remains that these devices can also be quite dangerous.
Specifically, today’s tend of sexting among teenagers is a huge problem. Teens engaging in this activity often find themselves victims of cyber bullying and humiliation. Read on to learn more about sexting, what it is, how it can be dangerous, and what parents can do to prevent their teens from sexting.
Essentially, the term “sexting” is a combination of “sex” and “texting.” Typically, sexting refers to having a conversation (usually via smartphone) with another person where the conversation is sexual in nature. In some cases, the people engaging in sexting may also send nude photos or videos of themselves to the other party.
And while sexting can be harmless when it’s between a monogamous couple in a committed, long-term relationship, the fact remains that there’s always some inherent risk that comes along with sexting. Unfortunately, many of today’s teens don’t see or understand these risks, and today’s culture even seems to promote this type of behavior. As such, there are all kinds of resources online that provide information on how to sext, how to start a sexting conversation, and even how to find sexting partners.
How Can Sexting Be Dangerous?
There are many ways in which seemingly innocent sexting can ruin a person’s reputation. After all, any type of communication that’s sent via smartphone can easily be shared with others and is never really safe from being shared. All it takes is for the other party to take a screenshot of the conversation or even save/share the photos and videos for a person’s life to be ruined.
And once information from a sexting conversation is shared over the Internet, it’s never 100% gone. Even if the original poster deletes it, there’s a good chance that others have already saved and shared it. Ultimately, it becomes a perpetual cycle and there’s no way to get rid of those embarrassing photos, texts, or videos.
When today’s teens look up search engine queries, such as “how to find a sexting partner” and then use that information to begin a sexting conversation with a person they don’t even know, the situation becomes even more dangerous. After all, how can a teen know that the person they’re sexting is who they say they are? It’s not difficult to impersonate other people on the Internet these days.
Furthermore, when a teen begins sexting with somebody they don’t know, there’s a much higher chance that the contents of their conversation will end up being shared on the Web. And eventually, they’re likely to make their way back to that person in a way that could ruin their reputation at school and in the community.
Even those who sext their significant others could be putting themselves at risk. For instance, those who search for information on how to do sexting with your boyfriend or how to get a girl to sext may believe that their conversation will remain private, but this isn’t often the case. The fact of the matter is that teenage relationships don’t usually last, and sometimes they end in a manner that’s not 100% amicable.
As a result, a bitter or jealous ex may find it fitting to share the photos, videos, and screenshots from a sexting conversation as revenge. As a result, everybody in his or her social circle see the photos, videos, and screenshots. Many of those people will share the information and it will perpetually spread. Therefore, teens should never think that it’s okay to sext simply because they’re sexting with a significant other.
Ultimately, when evidence of a person’s sexting makes it way around the Internet, it can affect that person’s life forever. Not only can a person’s social life be ruined by sexting, but other opportunities may be ruined as well. Employers conducting an online search of a job applicant may come across the photos and videos and, as a result, not even consider the candidate for the job. Furthermore, the person whose sexts are shared over the Internet may become further victims of cyber bullying; they’ll likely be made fun of at school and have a hard time making friends.
Specifically, girls to start off innocently enough researching “how do you sext your boyfriend” may find themselves constantly being made fun of and ridiculed at school.
How Can Sexting Be Prevented?
Parents of teens should be worried about texting these days. Unfortunately, it’s a sad reality that many parents must face and speak with their children about. On the bright side, however, there are many solutions when it comes to the question of how to prevent sexting.
Of course, the most obvious solution would be to not allow children and teens to have smartphones or other devices that are capable of capturing and sending such photos and videos of themselves. However, since there are many good reasons to get a teen a smartphone, this isn’t really the best solution in the long run. Not to mention, if a teen wants to engage in sexting, he or she will find a way to do it, whether it be by buying their own smartphone or using the phone of a friend.
There are other ways to go about preventing sexting, however. First of all, parents should have an open and honest conversation about sexting with their teenagers as soon as they’re old enough to have their own smartphone. By doing so, it’s possible to get the issue out on the table and help teens to understand the dangers that can come along with sexting.
Of course, no parent wants to have this talk with their teens, but it’s an important one to have in today’s society. Yes, it will be uncomfortable, but it will be worth it in the end when a teen is made aware of the dangers of sexting and truly understands the negative impact that even one sexting session can have in their lives in the long term.
When speaking to a teen about sexing, there are several points that should be covered. A few of these important points include:
- making sure the teen understands what constitutes sexting
- ensuring that the teen knows the dangers of sexting
- explaining to the teen how easily information can spread on the Internet
- being honest with teens that even in a committed relationship, sexting is no appropriate and can still be dangerous
Furthermore, when having a conversation with a teen about sexting, it’s also important to be open to answering any questions the teen may have. The conversation should be an open one and not a hostile one. Teens should feel comfortable asking questions or sharing information with their parents regarding how they feel about sexting. The more comfortable they feel talking to their parents about the issue, the less likely they will be to sext in the first place.
What about parents who have yet to have the sexting talk with their teens? How can they be on the lookout for signs of sexting and what can they do about them? First of all, if the phone was paid for by the parents, the teen should understand that their parents should be allowed to look at the contents of the phone at any time. In fact, parents should make this very clear as soon as they give their teens a smartphone. As such, teens should be restricted from keeping any kind of lock code or pattern on their phones that would keep parents from using it.
A specific thing to be on the lookout for among teens with smartphones is the presence of the “Snapchat” application on their phones. This application is conducive to sexting because it allows users to send pictures and videos to other users. Specifically, when a photo or video is sent, users can set it so that the photo or video only displays for a set amount of time before it automatically deletes itself.
This application is commonly used for sexting because it gives users a false sense of security. Because the images and videos are automatically deleted after a few seconds, teens tend to think that sexting using these applications is harmless. However, this is far from the truth. In fact, there are plenty of applications out there that allow Snapchat messages to be saved so that they can be viewed at any time. Therefore, for parents who know their teens use Snapchat, it’s important to have this talk with them and let the teens know that sexting over Snapchat is just as dangerous as sexting in any other situation.
Of course, it should be noted that Snapchat isn’t only used for sexting; just because somebody has the application on their phone, it should not be automatically assumed that they’re using it to sext.
Another red flag that parents may want to be on the lookout for when it comes to sexting is that of suspicious search engine inquiries on the computer. Often times, it’s possible to go back into a browser’s history and see what a person has been searching for. Specifically, parents should be on the lookout for inquiries such as “how to start a sexting conversation with a girl,” “how to sext your boyfriend,” and “how to sext message.”
Unfortunately, there are far too many resources on the Internet these days that provide information on how to do sexting videos and how to have sexting. In fact, some websites even provide a full sexting how to guide. Of course, these sites probably aren’t aimed at teens, but perhaps the website owners should keep in mind that teens may stumble across the site and use their information to do something that’s going to ruin their lives.
For parents who discover that their teenager has been sexting, it’s important to take the situation very seriously. All parents should have a no-tolerance policy when it comes to this because even one sext could ruin a teen’s life for many years to come. If evidence of sexting is discovered, it may be necessary not only to take away the teens’ phone, but to confront the parents of the other involved party as well.
Furthermore, having a talk to the teen about the implications of sexting (even if the talk was had before) is a must. If the information has already been shared online, parents will want to help to damage control as well. This may mean talking to the teen’s school principal to take action against any students found sharing the information online. This is never an easy conversation for a parent to have with school administration, but it may very well be necessary in order to protect one’s teen from having their photos and videos plastered all over the Internet in a way that will ruin their lives.
Furthermore, if a teen is being harassed by people at school as a result of sexting, it’s also important to take action by teaming up with the school administration. Many schools these days have a zero-tolerance policy in place when it comes to cyber bullying. Furthermore, it may also be a good idea to speak with other students’ parents, as unpleasant as the conversation may be.
Overall, sexting is something that all parents of teens need to be concerned with these days. So many teens get involved in sexting without thinking about the possible repercussions. Therefore, it’s a parent’s role to talk to teens about the dangers of sexting and be on the lookout for signs of it. By doing so, parents can help to protect their teens.