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Sexting - Teens & Tweens

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Breastfeeding has given me the opportunity to catch up on a few TV shows (Top Model, Law & Order, Pawn Stars, Being Human). Meanwhile, I rarely watch TV, so this is kind of relaxing. 

This month, I came across Dr. Phil on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). I'd heard a lot about him over the years, though never watched the show ... It's pretty good. Sexting was a subject on the show one night. I had seen the same on Law & Order one night. It was also an issue on Degrassi  (a show that I watch  with my tween). All of them reminded me of the time I busted my oldest son and his friends with some pretty explicit pictures on their phones. I didn't make a huge deal out of it (especially since the guys were hanging at my house and I did not want to embarrass my son), but I did briefly address the indecency of it with them. At that time, I did not know that this type of cell phone message is called "sexting" nor the numerous complications / issues of this trend (illegal, peer pressure, self-esteem issues).

What is Sexting?

Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between mobile phones. The term was first popularized around 2005, and is a portmanteau of sex and texting, where the latter is meant in the wide sense of sending a text possibly with images.(Teresa Edmond (2010-0221). Retrieved 2010-05-30)

Is Sexting Illegal? What does sexting involve?

Sexting that involves people sending explicit photographs of themselves to their peers has led to a legal gray area in countries that have strict anti-child pornography laws, such as the United States. Some teenagers who have texted "photographs" of themselves, or of their friends or partners, have been charged with distribution of child pornography, while those who have received the images have been charged with possession of child pornography; in some cases, the possession charge has been applied to school administrators who have investigated sexting incidents as well. The images involved in sexting are usually different in both nature and motivation from the type of content that anti-child pornography laws were created to address. (Teresa Edmond (2010-0221). Retrieved 2010-05-30)

How to keep pre-teens / teens from sexting?

Although we cannot watch and control everything our teens are doing, you have to try to talk with your teen or tween about sexting. Explain that sexting is illegal and although it might be funny or amusing to his / her friends, kids get hurt (they lose friends, people forward the messages to others and post images on the internet, perverted adults may get a hold of messages and / or pictures, kids get suspended and expelled from school, people that love them will be disappointed, etc.) as a consequence of sexting.

Sexting has become a huge issue among pre-teen and teen kids in the USA.

We have become a nation of parents that are much too permissive, indulgent and trusting of our children. Too many kids are permitted to "hang out" at the mall on school nights. Tweens date and go to the movies without chaperones. Where cell phones were once a necessity for latchkey kids and parents to communicate; they are now a commonality that even elementary school children expect. Think about it! How many kids do you know that have cell phones? How many of those kids spend more time texting than speaking on the phone? How many are under the age of 13 and on Facebook? Meanwhile, parents are much too lax about checking on how their children are using their cell phones ... this is apparent when they get the cell phone bills and most act surprised when they do. Meanwhile, it is now just as common for kids to send dirty jokes and naked pictures by cell phone. 

Sexting is one of those "out of control' teen issues that has partially resulted from our permissiveness, detachment from our children and the age old syndrom of PEER PRESSURE. The sooner we get a handle on it within communities, schools and households, the better off our teens and pre-teens will be. 

Has someone been sending your child sexting messages? Want to share this information with other parents? Send their parent the link to this post by copying and pasting this link in an email message to them:

In Motherly Love,
Mother Baby Child


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