Raising young children can be an overwhelming task, with ease of access to modern technology, most kids today have various ways to get online. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops all can be used comfortably to document their lives online.
They are intertwined with their digital devices, posting photos, updating their status messages, sharing texts, and being a click away from friends are the new normal for teens nowadays.
What age does sexting usually begin?
Sexting has become a normal part of adolescent sexual development. In the past, sexual development was much more discreet, but because of modern technology and its new popularity, sexting has now become a social norm among teens because it makes them feel that it is an important and essential part of their sexual development. Teens and young people engage to sexting because it is their way to show off, to entice or to prove commitment to someone. So instead of being shocked to find that your kids are sexting, parents should instead be open in talking about it from an early age.
What is Sexting?
Sexting or “sex texting” is a term used for an act of intimately connecting and sharing sexually explicit or suggestive materials via mobile device, internet or through social media. Sexting includes sending nude or partially nude photographs, videos that show nudity, sexual act, or simulated sex and text messages that propose sex or refer to sex acts. While sexting is done by people of all ages, studies indicate that young people ages 13-18 already engage to sexting. The age breakdown of kids 18 years old and under who sext goes like this:13 years- 9%, 14 years-13%, 15 years-17%, 16 years-18%, 17 years-24% and 18 years- 20%.
Sexting has become more common to teens with the rise of smart phones which can be used to send explicit photographs as well as messages. But why are teens doing it?
- Out of curiosity
Sex creates curiosity significantly among teens, it excites their interest that leads them to exploration and experimentation. This is not a new thing and it’s totally normal, particularly since teens these days are exposed to attractive photos of celebrities wearing almost nothing and erotic videos that they see on television and on social media.Teens may be curious as to what others look like if naked and also easily aroused by nudity.
- Peer pressure
Peer pressure to participate in sex and to take an interest in sex is another reason teens are surrendering to sending sexy pictures of themselves. If you’re a guy and your friends all have sexual photos of young ladies on their phones, you may feel forced to do the same; especially if your friends will single you out on the off chance that you don’t. On the other side, if you’re a girl and other girls are boasting about sending pictures to their boyfriends you may feel that you have to do the same particularly if you feel that everyone else is doing it and it turned out as an ordinary and normal behavior as a way of cool and popular flirting.
Teens can easily get into an illusion that having their first love is their “the one.” Dramatic as it seems but for them their first love is their destiny for eternity whom they will do anything and everything to keep their true love happy. So if they will be asked to take a revealing body photo of themselves, they will not hesitate to do it in as fast as 10 seconds.
Sexting at a young age can be destructive in many ways and could end up haunting your kids for the rest of their lives. Here are some reasons why.
- It can be saved and shared
One of the main guideline that your teens have to remember is that once something makes it on the web and posted on social media, it stays online. Kids may feel that sexting is a harmless way to motivate somebody to like them. They may believe that they can trust certain people enough to share nude photos of themselves, but images can be shared and duplicated too easily and could end up being shared to limitless viewers. It is a difficult process to get photographs removed from a single website, so teens who take nude selfies are often subjected to rumors, insults and bullying and one single photo can come back to haunt them later in life.
- It can lead to sex at a young age
Young people who sext are more likely to engage in risky sexual activity that can have a negative impact on their physical and mental state. Sexual experiences of teens can expose them to the risk of having sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancy which can result to losing their focus on their goals and aspirations in life.
- It can land your child in jail
Teenagers must know that sexting is illegal, it is against the law that is why regardless of whether your child does not take part in sexting under ordinary condition, the impulse of forwarding someone else’s sexually explicit message or naked photos can land your child in jail. Different state have assigned various punishments to sending explicit photos of minors which concern jail time and fines, Underage nude photographs can result to criminal charges for the senders and the recipients of the photographs. They can be convicted of child pornography charges and have their names permanently placed on registered sex offender lists.
- Adopt a healthy happy home
Teens who take part in sexting regularly usually have family issues. The most ideal approach to keep your kids from sexting is to maintain a happy healthy home. Teens who live in a happy home, have high confidence level and are dynamic. They are less inclined to feel pressure to try sexting. A healthy home likewise establishes good relationships between parents and children, opening the doors for communication. Parents who remain sensible and calm are more likely to be approached by their kids than parents who are emotional and judgmental. Parents who create an open, communicative environment at home have teens who were confident enough to resist the thrill or the pressure to engage in sexting. Like most things in life, parents can just build a solid foundation for what they want their teens to do and kids are bound to settle on the correct decisions.
- Explain the consequences
Make the discussion part of a larger, comprehensive conversation about sex, sexual disposition, sexual morality, dating, and the results of pre-marital sexual activity. Point out that there are serious emotional, psychological, and spiritual dangers related to sexting. Remind them that digital images don’t easily go since there are various ways that sexually explicit photos can be captured, stored, and shared. Paint a vivid picture about the end results of teenagers who send explicit photos of minors, including jail time. Utilize on-going news stories of perpetrators in your state to illustrate the situation. Having clear, real and shocking results as a primary concern in mind can discourage many teens from taking interest in sexting.
- Set limit on the use of devices and social media
When it comes to sexting, the best form of privacy protection is lack of access. Set limits on social media use. Many families have times during the day where cellphones are banned, such as at dinner. Do not allow your child to operate their phone during this time, Ask for access to your teen’s social media accounts for occasional inspection, doing this can make you teens nervous about getting caught if there are any explicit images on their devices. You can also set a family’s computer in a public area of your home so you can monitor the websites that your kids are viewing, it may help in preventing them from curiously looking at pornographic content which can lead to sexting. This parenting technique can help your children stay on the straight and narrow by showing them that you won’t tolerate any sexting or malicious behaviour.
In our innovative world today where anything can be duplicated, sent, posted, and seen by an immense group of audiences, there’s no such thing as being able to control data and information. The intention doesn’t matter –regardless of whether a photo was taken and sent as a token of love an adoration, the technology makes it possible for everyone to see your child’s most intimate self. Recognize not just the cons, but also the pros of sexting. You know what they say: With great power, comes great responsibility. It’s about educating your child not just as a sender, but also a person on the receiving end. Teach them how to make expectations clear. Encourage them to establish expectations of privacy with whoever they’re communicating with. Understand that teens are sexually curious especially with all the technology to experiment with. As parents you are your kids’ first teachers, so converse with them about sexting: the good, the bad, and the ugly. That way, on the off chance that they choose to engage, they have all the information they need to help them keep safe.