Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The Effects of Sexting on Teens and Ways to Combat It

As parents of soon to be teenagers who have smart phones, I, and many others are concerned about our kids' safety online, especially when it comes to things that have long term repercussions. Teens sexting, for example, can be very problematic with life long effects. Here's some tips from a reader on the potential issues and how to combat them.

Receiving and sending sexually explicit images or messages is quickly becoming the new normal for many teens. Parents tend to freak out when they first find a sext in their teen's phone. Sexting doesn't mean that your kid is deviant or they possess bad behaviours, it may simply be a way of exploring their sexual identity which is a healthy way of growing up. Sexting has some harmful effects on teens and parents need to employ parental control apps such as FamiSafe to track all the kid’s activities while online and offline.

The negatives simply outweigh the positives when it comes to sexting. The main issue according to various studies is that many teens aren’t able to discern between sexts that are consensual, non-consensual or those that are coerced. This makes them vulnerable and an easy target to cyberbullies and pedophiles. Below are some of the negative effects of teen sexting.

  • Revenge Porn
Revenge porn is the sharing of private sexual materials of another person without their consent with the sole purpose of causing harm or distress. This often happens after a breakup when one of the parties feels more disgruntled. The desire to get back at someone who has hurt you may lead one to the extent of posting their private moments on large online platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or WhatsApp.
  • Psychological Torture
The internet is filled with predators that are out to prey on teens. They can pressure the teens into sharing their explicit content. Many a time, the pressure is recurrent and the issue grows deeper and deeper. The feeling of shame to the teen causes irrevocable damage such as depression and may ultimately lead to suicide.
  • Content Going Viral
Anything that is put online is technically beyond one's control. A teen's sexual content that is sent to an individual may end up in plenty of places, uploaded and re-posted to many individuals who may know or not know you. The worst of this is the content ending up in an adult website where anyone can download for their use.
  • Awful Track Record
They say that the internet never forgets, this is the Bible truth! Sexts and images that may have been leaked on the net in your teenage years may still be floating around in your college years or even in your adulthood. The effects of sexting can have life-long devastating psychological effects on a teen's future.
  • Against the Law
Sending or forwarding explicit materials of any underage persons can get you in jail or incur hefty fines as it’s termed as child pornography. An individual prosecuted of child pornography needs to also register as a sex offender in their region to protect children around the area.

How Parents Can Deal With Teen Sexting

1. Communicate with Your Teen. The key to dealing with teenagers is always through open and honest communication. Let your kid know that they can always talk to you about anything and everything. Parents shouldn’t refrain from talking about sex education with their kids. Enlighten them on the law and when to know when they are being violated or taken advantage of.

2. Set the Rules. Kids and teens are below the age of consenting hence a parent needs to set some basic guidelines for their kids to follow. Be very clear with them on the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ while on the internet to protect them from predators.

3. Use Parental Control. FamiSafe is a popular parental control app that helps parents to closely monitor all the activities of their kids. Teens like attention and reassurance and the internet shouldn’t be the place where they go looking for friends. Parents ought to warn their` kids not to share any photos with people they don’t know physically.