Recently, a group of about 13 children at a high school in Dallas Fort Worth Texas were arrested in a sexting scandal. The officers involved said that in Texas, teenagers are charged with a misdemeanor for sexting. It is a much more serious issue in other states that can result in the youth being charged with a felony crime. Kids are then labeled sex offenders for an impulsive act that is common in many schools.
Most often the messages and/or nude pictures are between teen couples and are released after they break up. However, there are many predators who groom young people, building relationships with the teen over months building their trust then start asking for sexually explicit talk and photos. 20% Of People Have Sexted The Wrong Person
Sexting can go viral in school settings and communities. Sexting, a brief guide for educators and parents by Cyberbulllying Research Center, states that 4-19% of teens ages 12-17 have sent a sexting message or photo, and that 13-31% of teens have received a sexting message. Wikipedia defines sexting as: 1. Usually involves sending nude and/or sexually explicit images or sexually explicit text messages. 2. Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between mobile phones. GASP! 80 Percent Of College Students Are Doing This Scary Thing
With the plethora of social media and access to unlimited internet access, teens are being drawn into sexually charged interchanges with other students and strangers. All of this activity is unknown to the parents who assume their child is immune to acting out in this way. Due to the risks of having sexual content on phones now, there is actually now an app that will quickly delete photos and messages from the phone.
The app industry is responding to the consumer who wants to delete photos and sexting with no trace. The problem is that teens are sexting in the first place. Parents need to know what their kids are doing with so much access to the internet and unlimited messaging. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and NetSmart.org report that parents need to keep open lines of communication with their kids so they are not afraid to come to them with their concerns if they receive or are asked for sexual material. Whose Needs Should Come First: Mine Or My Kids'?
Here are five questions they recommend to start a discussion with your kids about sexting:
1. Have you ever received sexual messages or naked pictures on your phone?
2. Has anyone asked or pressured you to send a nude photo or a sexual picture?
3. Do you think it is ok to send "sexy" messages or images?
4. What would happen to you if you sent or forwarded a sexual text or a naked picture?
5. How likely is it that images and messages intended for one person will be shared and seen by another person?
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