Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs by mobile phone or over the Internet. Teenagers wanting to be accepted by their boyfriend or girlfriend may send him or her a suggestive or even pornographic image. The problem is this image usually gets shared with others and once it has spread online, it can be impossible to delete. Reputation are damaged, emotional trauma can result and even criminal charges can be made against the adolescent that took a picture of herself or himself.
A recent study done with 23,000 high school students found a strong correlation between sexting and suicide. “Overall, 10 percent of the students said they had sent a sext message in the past year and 5 percent said someone else had sent a sexually suggestive photo of themselves. Those involved in sexting were not only more likely to report a suicide attempt, they also had twice the odds of reporting depressive symptoms as students who weren’t involved in sexting.” -
Teen Sexting Linked to Psychological Distress, Christina Caron, ABC News, Nov. 10, 2011.
That means if you have a high school aged child, there is a 1 out of 10 chance they have sent a naked picture of themselves to someone else! Just google “sexting and suicide” and you will see news articles of several teenagers killing themselves as a result of sexting in just the last 3 years.
Talk with your teenager about the dangers of sexting. Spot check the photo and text histories on their phone. Use Computer Parenting to monitor their online activities. Prevent the problem before it happens if possible. Don’t let your teenager deal with the consequences alone if the problem already exists, especially if it has turned into a cyberbullying situation.