What is sexting? If you are a parent worried about a child or teen that has been or may become involved in sexting or if you are a teen that is being pressured to participated in sexting or other inappropriate text messaging, learn more here. The term “sexting” was adopted around 2005 and has taken on several different meanings. When asking what is sexting, people naturally think of sex and texting and in a nutshell that is what it is about. Teenagers, and adults, using mobile phones, instant messaging, email, chat rooms, or any other type of digital technology to share nude, partly nude, or any type of sexually related content is participating in sexting.
It is crucial for both parents and teens to understand that once a message is sent the individual loses all control of that message or image. What was meant for an individual you love, is now completely out of your control. You can never get it back, delete it, have complete control over that information again. Before you send that picture or message ask yourself how it would feel to have your parents, teachers, or the whole school reading or looking at it. You may think that your boyfriend or girlfriend would never share it or pass it along, but what you don’t know is who else may gain access to it. If it is forwarded on to the individuals email, a parent, sibling, or friends may see it. If it is viewed on a school computer it will most likely be save in a temporary Internet folder that many people have access to.
What if you send the message and your boyfriends best guy friend is borrowing his phone? There are a million things that can go wrong, and the risk is not worth it. Even if nothing comes of it and you forget you ever sent anything and it only happened once, years down the road pictures and messages resurface and ruin marriages, careers, and break up families. If you are being pressured by a boyfriend or girlfriend to be involved in some type of sexting, get the help of sites like thatsnotcool.com, they have some great to the point graphics that you can send to help get the message across that just because you won’t be involved in sexting, doesn’t mean you don’t love and want to have a relationship with the person.
Parents, you have to talk to your kids about sexting. They can’t see all the possibilities of what their youthful decisions can lead to. If you are too uncomfortable or don’t know what to tell them. Find some news stories and online articles that you can share that will help them understand what sexting is, the dangers or sexting, and ways to stop or stay out of sexting conversations all together. Other names by which you may hear sexting referred to is cyber sex, phone sex, Facebook sexting, or many other names. If you need to, create a cell phone contract that details exactly how and when a mobile phone can be used and the consequences that a teen will face when violating the terms of the cell phone contract. Teens also need to realize that distribution of any teen sexually explicit photo is illegal and many states are now pursing distribution of pornography charges against teens that are sharing any such material.
Even celebrities have been known to be involved in sexting and have felt the negative repercussions of their choices. Don’t let a message sent in moment of weakness or vulnerability lead to a lifetime of regrets. The old “Just Say NO” motto that has been used for years regarding drug use applies just as much here, don’t be pressured into sexting, don’t be afraid to say no. In the end people will love and respect your much more for your courage to say no than they would to have received the dirty message or photo.