Sexting, or the transmission of sexual language and/or pictures is nothing new to teens. Finding more creative ways to get it past their parents is and it would appear there are some adults who are willing to help them.
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Although most teens would say it is harmless, sexting can have some serious repercussions. Sending naked photos in North Carolina is considered child pornography if the person in the picture is under 18. Once a picture is in digital format, it’s life and the places it can show up on the internet are endless. In a young mind, though, the motivation to be liked and wanted are more powerful than the thoughts of the future.
What is a parent to do to protect their child from making such harmful decisions?
Having a relationship with open communication, where nothing is off limits might be your child’s biggest protection. Within this framework, you have the opportunity to help your child discuss why her peers participate in this type of behavior. A dialog about the consequences of digital pictures and conversations allows you to give instruction without causing your child to feel interrogated or accused. For me, a small group setting with her friends sets a great stage for these talks.
When talking, help your teen think through the why of sexting. Leslie Petruck of Stepping Stones Counseling and Consulting says the root cause is insecurity. “Kids that are already struggling with their self-esteem or feeling depressed may be more keen or more likely to send something,” said Petruk in an interview with Fox News Charlotte.
Most of all, don’t turn your head and say, “Not my child.” Cover your bases and talk.