The National Campaign to prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy recently published the results from a survey they commissioned in conjunction with Cosmo Girl. The survey asked teens and young adults about their use of technology to send sexually explicit pictures and messages to one another. The survey included the responses of 1,280 teens and young adults ranging in age from 13-26.
In the findings, they reported that “A significant number of teens have electronically sent, or posted online, nude or semi-nude pictures or video of themselves.” They go on to report that “75% of teens and 71% of young adults say sending sexually suggestive content “can have serious negative consequences.”
Given these startling statistics, it is increasingly important that parents discuss “sexting” openly with their kids.
- Talk openly – Although this is a difficult topic, it is important that your kids are aware that when sending pictures or sexually explicit messages the images are not truly private.
- Know their friends – Just as with all other friends, it is important that parents know who their kids are connecting with and communicating with online.
- Think long term, even when your kids can’t – Parents often have the ability to think of the long term repercussions of their actions.
- Stay up on technology – In order to be able to know what your kids are posting and sending out, you must be able to understand all of their technology. Whether its Facebook, chatting, or “texting” make sure you are as savvy as your child.
- Communicate your expectations – by setting some expectations for what is appropriate online your kids will understand what is allowed.