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Friday, November 20, 2015

The Facts About Sexting: What Parents Need to Know


THE FACTS ABOUT SEXTING:  WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW

Recently, several parents asked if our school could provide information about cyberbullying.  Our amazing FFO Executive Board has weighed in and agreed that we need to bring back NOT MY KID, a presentation for parents, students and staff in 2nd semester.   This article is the first in a series.  I want to focus on the practice of sexting, a disturbing, damaging and potentially illegal practice. Sexting can result in embarrassment,  harassment and heartache for its victims.  It is often an impulsive act.  Here's what the current literature is saying:

WHAT IS SEXTING?

We have heard many stories about sexting among adolescents in the media.  The term "sexting" found its way into the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary in 2012.  The definition of sexting is "the sending of sexually explicit messages or images by cell phone."


STATISTICS: this is a list of Sexting Teenage Statistics from studies done by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, The Pew Internet & American Life Project and the Cox Communications Teen Online & Wireless Safety Survey.

Percent of teens who have sent or posted nude or semi-nude photos or videos of themselves:
• 20% of teens overall
• 22% of teen girls
• 18% of teen boys
• 11% of young teen girls between the ages 13-16


Percent of teens that sent sexually suggestive messages via text, email or instant messaging:
• 39% of all teens
• 37% of teen girls
• 40% of teen boys
• 48% of teens say they have received such messages


Other Statistics:
• 71% of teen girls and 67% of teen boys who have sent or posted sexually suggestive content say they have sent/posted this content to a boyfriend/girlfriend.

• 75% of teens say sending sexually suggestive content “can have serious negative consequences."

• 66% of teen girls and 60% of teen boys say they did so to be “fun or flirtatious”— their most common reason for sending sexy content.

• 44% of both teen girls and teen boys say they sent sexually suggestive messages or images in response to such content they received.

• 40% of teen girls said they sent sexually suggestive messages or images as “a joke.”

What to do if your child receives an inappropriate text message or photo:

MAKE SURE:  to never forward, copy, transmit, download, store, transfer, or share an inappropriate image in any way with a non-law enforcement individual. 

Copyright © 2009 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. All rights reserved.

Preventing Sexting Among Teens: How to Talk to Your Child About This Serious Issue (here are some conversation starters):

THINK ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCESof taking, sending, or forwarding explicit texts or photos of someone underage (that includes photos of yourself).  You could get face school disciplinary consequences, humiliation, and potentially get in trouble with the law. 

NEVER TAKE images of yourself that you wouldn’t want everyone—your classmates, your teachers, your family, etc—to see.

BEFORE HITTING SEND…remember that you can’t control where this image may travel. What you send to classmates could easily end up with their friends, and their friends, and their friends.  In other words, strangers will have your image!

REPORT…any inappropriate pictures or messages you receive on your cell phone to an adult you trust. Do not delete or forward the message. Instead, get your parents or guardians, teachers, and school counselors involved immediately.  This could also be a police matter. Forwarding explicit images of minors is a crime.   

Next article:  Dealing with cyberbullying that happens when your child is at home vs at school.  STAY TUNED!