As parents, we know that taking certain risks is a natural part of development for teens. However, a recent survey by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com indicates a troubling trend of teens electronically sharing sexually suggestive content (text, photos, videos) with people they know as well as complete strangers. Furthermore, the study showed that what teens are doing electronically seems to have an effect on what they do in real life.
While being tech savy can be seen as a positive for today's teenagers, the study reveals there's also a negative side. Teenagers need to be made aware of the real consequences to this type of behavior and parents need to provide them with guidance and encourage them to make smart choices. When talking to teens about this issue, parents need to understand that their own notion of what's public, what's private, and what's appropriate, may differ greatly from how teens and young adults define these concepts.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy offers two useful tip sheets. The first includes tips to help parents talk to their kids about sex and technology, and the second includes tips for teens; things they should think about before pressing the “send” button.
If you need more information, the following are useful websites regarding sexting and other media information:
Image credit: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy