Teens and texting go hand in hand. A majority of students have a mobile cell phone at their disposal and many use texting as their communication of choice. Teens are advancing beyond their years when it comes to electronics and the capabilities it offers them. They are growing up physically much faster, it seems, than ever before. The combination of adult technology and teen “free-spiritedness” can lead to some very questionable practices.
Many teens have moved past conventional texting. Sexting is sending promiscuous pictures of their privates or sexually explicit texts to another student or adult. While many adults do it, the thought that students are doing it has many parents up in arms.
- They hide the phone and do not want parents to look at it.
- They say they have lost their phone if a parent asks to see it.
- They make up continued excuses to avoid turning over their phone.
- They take the phone with them when they use the restroom or go to shower.
Threatening a teen if you suspect them of sexting will only make matters worse. If they are at the age where their bodies are changing and they are enjoying the feedback they receive from other students, your threats may make them want to do it even more. If you feel your teen is sexting, you may want to remove the texting option off of their phone until you can trust them to not do it again. This allows them the option of still having a phone, but removes the temptation to send inappropriate texts and emails.
Teach Them to Respect Themselves
This lesson should be taught to children from a very early age. If a child was raised to respect themselves and their bodies, parents would have little problems controlling the type of messages their child would send in the future. It is understandable that a teen’s curiosity rises as their bodies begin to change. The important concept with that is, just because things are changing physically, it does not mean the student is mentally ready to handle everything that comes with having a few newly altered body parts.
Sexting presents a variety of safety issues in addition to the moral issues it raises. Do the teens really know who is receiving the messages they are sending? If they met the person online, they may encountered a pedophile who has built a fake profile and is looking to find vulnerable kids who will send them the photos they need to feed their desires. If teens aren’t careful, they may arrange a meeting with someone they believe to be a teen, who, in actuality is an adult with very bad intentions.
The key to preventing sexting is understanding why teens do it. Many do it to fit in. Others do it because it provides them with a sense of adventure. They are doing something is not allowed and virtually getting away with it. As they begin to discover their bodies, a whole new world opens up for them.
Girls are commonly the most promiscuous. Boys may participate in sexting, but girls are more apt to send pictures and texts. Teens can often send those dangerous messages for months without getting caught for one reason. Their parents don’t believe their children would be capable of doing it. Even though the majority of teens believe sexting is wrong, they choose to do it any way. It is believed that many high school girls will send promiscuous pictures to unknown recipients just to see what kind of attention they will get.
If parents want to prevent their children from sexting and sending inappropriate pictures and texts, they need to be more vigilant. Instead of just handing a teenager a phone and letting them go on their merry way, make sure they understand the rules of having the phone. Rules can include almost anything a parent feels comfortable with.
- Parents can look at the phone at any time.
- Parents are allowed to place limits on phone usage.
- Students must account for every download or text that appears on the billing statement.