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The Problem of “Sexting” “Sexting” refers to sending a text message with pictures of children or teens that are inappropriate, naked or engaged in sex acts.According to a recent survey, about 20 percent of teen boys and girls have sent such messages.Since there were no bare-bottomed kids playing doctor in her bedroom or questions about where babies come from, I figured the talk could wait awhile—until her high school graduation maybe.Then, one day, I found her flipping through a kids’ book about sex that I’d picked up for my research.The emotional pain it causes can be enormous for the child in the picture as well as the sender and receiver--often with legal implications.Parents must begin the difficult conversation about sexting before there is a problem and introduce the issue as soon as a child is old enough to have a cell phone.Before I started writing this story, it hadn’t occurred to me to talk to my daughter about sex.I wasn’t exactly avoiding the topic, but she was only 6½ and it seemed way too early.
For this reason, it is imperative that parents talk with their children of all ages about social media and monitor their online social media use to help them navigate this new online social world.Today’s teens and tweens are connected to one another, and to the world, via digital technology more than any previous generation.Recent data suggests that social media venues like Facebook and Twitter have surpassed e-mail as the preferred method of communication in all age groups.“Oh, so that’s what they look like,” she said, staring intently at one of the pages. ” I asked, peering over her shoulder at an illustration of the male reproductive system. Turns out my daughter had been learning quite a bit about the facts of life—mispronunciations and all—from a seven-year-old chum with an older sibling.
How parents talk with their kids and teens will vary slightly by age depending on the topic being discussed.
These tips will help you start that journey with your family.