Sexting among teens: What should parents do?

According to recently published statistics 93% teens aged 13 – 17 regularly browse the internet and over 50% of these adolescents have their own smartphones to do so. Connecting with their family and friends using a portable device may seems like a pretty harmless ordeal on the surface but keeping in mind that adolescents easily give into temptation and the baggage that comes with being a young adult it would be unwise to think that your teen has not been exposed to sexting among other digital evils.

Sexting is an example of risky teen behavior which can have serious consequences for a teenager in the longer run. The internet is filled up with horror stories of teenagers indulging in sexting on their phones and sending out inappropriate photographs which come back to haunt them later in their lives. What’s posted to the internet stays posted even if it is deleted from the original source – a fact that most adolescents overlook when giving into temptation of communicating with the opposite sex. Parents need to take proactive steps, often tech savvy parents have a better chance of handling the situation.   

The burgeoning issue is one which requires timely parental intervention but how to approach this sensitive issue has become a topic of serious debate among parenting activists. Teenagers sending pictures on phones and indulging in sexual acts even if it’s over the radio waves can have grim repercussions and appropriate measures are required to effectively curb the problem. However parenting experts are of the view that due to the volatile nature of the age the more parents try to control their teens’ behavior they more likely they are to find ways to disobey. The research further stated that the more measured or moderated a parent’s approach the more likely their teens are to operate within the set limits.

Keeping that in mind here are a few suggestions when it comes to communicating with your teen about sexting:

Discuss sexuality

There is no denying the fact that communication is mandatory for a healthy parent-child relationship. According to parents experts when teens reach the right age parents should discuss sexual behaviors with their adolescents including sexting in a relaxed but truthful environment. Discussing the matter will help your teen understand his raging his hormones better and it would be easier for them to handle the problem once faced by it.

Teach by example

Sadly there are countless incidents available on the Internet where teens developed severe psychological problems after indulging in sexting. This did not only affect them personally but also professionally long after they had matured into adults and gotten jobs. Parents can quote such incidences in their discussions and stress upon why care needs to be taken by their adolescent when faced by temptation.

Coach how to handle peer pressure

Peer pressure is the number one reason why teenagers try out things which they wouldn’t under normal circumstances. The need to fit in with people of their age and do what all the cool kids are doing to get noticed causes them to take up activities which can have serious consequences. Divert your teen’s attention towards healthy alternatives like sports or hobbies to avoid getting into situations which require them to follow the crowd.

An open and healthy channel of communication and a friendly home environment where problems can be openly discussed without fear of embarrassment or insult can easily help teens overcome problems like sexting, cyberbullying and harassment among many others.

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