Last year if you had used the word sexting no one would have known what you were talking about. These days, though, the term sexting is all over the news talk shows and the internet. As technology advances it brings with it new dangers and trends and of these sexting is one of the newest and most alarming to many parents of the past few years.
Sexting is a recently new trend among teens, born from the prevalence of camera phones, in which nude or semi-nude photos are taken and e-mailed. It usually starts with one teen taking a photo and sending it to their significant other. Though this may be a disturbing enough thought for most parents the real trouble for the teen normally starts when the relationship sours, or trust is violated, and the picture ends up being distributed amongst friend or even uploaded onto the internet where it is often visible by anyone with a computer.
Check out our recent OSA eZine… OSA Investigate SEXting to get more information and more of an understanding of how big, this problem really is:
As new as this trend is figures from a recent study suggest that it is far from rare. The results of the study suggest that up to 40% of teens have been asked to send nude photos of themselves electronically and possibly up to 20% of teens have actively engaged in sexting.
As is so often the case with dangerous activities, teenagers think of sexting as something that is a harmless without realizing or considering all the possible results of their actions. The truth is however that sexting is anything but harmless. Some of the possible results of sexting are:
3. Social isolation
7. Felony Criminal Charges
The key to helping teens understand the seriousness of sexting is to educate them to the possible ramifications and such actions and to help them understand that the consequences can be long term and life altering.
It is illegal for anyone to posses distribute or redistribute, this includes transmitting through e-mail or by cellular phone, any nude or lewd picture of a child under 18 years of age. Even if a teen takes a picture of themselves and sends it to their boyfriend they can be charged with a felony and/or required to register as a sex offender.
Aside from the legal ramifications those who have engaged in this activity very often suffer psychological trauma, especially if the picture gets into unwanted hands or becomes public. These psychological effects range from feelings of regret to depression and even to self harm and suicide.
So take the time to talk about SEXting with your kids. Make sure they know what could happen, regardless of how harmless they may think it to be. Most of all make sure you let the kids know that no matter what activity they may have engaged in, they can always talk to you about it. As long as the lines of communication are open, then there is always a means to address any issue.
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Your Online Security Authority
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