In last month’s blog article we discusses how many teens were really sending sext messages and why. This month, we want to dig a little deeper into this hot topic and discuss why it is important for parents to talk about sexting with their teens.
Talking to teenagers can be rather difficult for parents to do successfully. It can feel awkward talking to your teenaged son or daughter about sex, drugs, and other such uncomfortable topics. Now, parents also have to worry about covering the basics of sexting too!
Even though you sit your teen down and say what you have to say, do they really hear you? Some parents rush through various sensitive topics just to get it done and over with. They pat themselves on the back, but fail to realize their teen sat there and tuned them out the entire time. A good indication of this is when your teen says, “Are we done yet?” This lets you know they are not paying attention or listening.
So what is a parent supposed to do to make sure their teen hears them loud and clear about sexting, without yelling at them? Talk to them and talk to them some more. As uncomfortable or scary as this might sound, you need to get through to them sexting has consequences that can ruin their life.
Teens don’t think about the long-term consequences of sexting. Your teen may not realize that sending and posting partially-naked and fully naked pictures of themselves is actually considered child pornography. In addition, if your teen is 18 and sexting with someone under the age of 18, they could be considered a pedophile under our legal system.
Furthermore, once your teen sends or posts a picture, it is out in there forever. If the person they sent it to didn’t want it or their relationship with that person ends, the picture could end up being circulated around at their school. This can have a direct impact on their self-esteem.
Additionally, if the police and Crown get involved, and your teen is charge, convicted and found guilty of a sexual-based crime, they could find themselves having to register for the national sexual offenders’ registry. By discussing the consequences of sexting with your teen, it can make talking about the topic easier for parents.
Parents should also not be afraid to establish some ground rules about smartphone usage. You have rules about when they can drive, what time they need to be home, and so on. You should also have rules about smartphone usage and your right to access the content on the phone at any time.
You can also talk to your provider about enabling teen controls so you are notified anytime they take a picture and see what it is, as well as other access without having to pick up the actual phone. If your teen is sexting and won’t stop, take away the phone. They won’t die if they don’t have a phone. Plus, you just might save them from making the biggest mistake of their life.
For more parenting advice on how to talk to your teen about sexting or other sensitive subjects, please feel free to contact Bayridge Counselling Centres at 905-319-1488 today!