Three in 10 teen American girls will get pregnant at least once before age 20. That’s nearly 750,000 teen pregnancies every year. Teens who get pregnant or cause a pregnancy engage in a pattern of poor choices. 20% of teens have either electronically sent or posted nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves. Although teens that are sending sexually explicit content are sending it to boyfriends or girlfriends, many experts suggest that teens may be sending such images to random people who they want to hook up with or complete strangers. Teens give many reasons for sending or posting sexually explicit content. Most teens, sexting on phone or sending sexually explicit pictures online say it is a ‘fun and flirtatious’ activity.
The cause and effect syndrome
Sending or posting sexually explicit content starts at a young age and becomes even more frequent by the time a child grows up. Sexually active teens often see online dating sites as an easy way to have sex. Hooking up with strangers by sending them sexually suggestive messages or photos is pretty common among teens. They face pressure from their peers and most of them try to fit in by making bad choices. Resultantly, almost a million teens get pregnant each year.
How can parents avoid teen pregnancy?
Parents have a difficult task at hand. Apart from discussing openly with their teens about sex, relationships and responsibility, you also have to talk about how they are supposed to behave in the cyberspace. It might have implications on the teen’s health and also their future as their virtual footprints can be tracked down even after years.
Know who your kids are communicating with
It is a given that parents want to know who their kid is spending time with when they are out of the house. Also make sure that you know who your teen is spending time with online and on the phone. Monitoring your teens whereabouts in reality and in terms of cyberspace doesn’t make you a nag. It is just a part of your job as a parent. Some kids consider themselves to be friends with people they have met online.
Restrict the use of technology
It is hard to ensure that teens spend less time in the virtual world in this day and age but you can make sure that your teen limits the time online or on the phone when they are at home. Politely but firmly ask your teen to leave their phone on the kitchen counter or leave the laptop outside their bedroom when they are going to sleep.
Even when they do use technology make sure you know what they are doing on it. Take help of a parental control software or do it manually, but do supervise their use of technology.
Just as you have a curfew time or have set rules about appropriate clothing and language, make sure they know what you consider acceptable behavior online. Make them understand what is off-limits for them to do when they are using the internet or the phone. Tell them you care for them, touch on the implications of the abuse of technology and make sure that the limitations you have set are met.