Teen sexting is a reality that many parents do not want to come to terms with. Most teenagers find it fun and exciting, often not knowing the dire consequences of sharing compromising photos with someone you barely know. They may have never predicted the risks of sexting until they face one or any of their close friends does.
In one of the recent studies, about 19% of the privileged teens with cell phones have received explicit messages, and nearly 12% of teens have sent explicit messages to their partners. This reveals that most teenagers’ minds are wired to be thinking about sex and sexuality almost all the time.
Research highlights that sexting can have an entirely negative psychological impact on teens. Most teenagers share indecent pictures with someone they know who later starts to blackmail them to get sexual favours, which leads to sexual coercion. Forcing teenagers to exchange nudes can result in depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, which is why parents must talk to their children about this severe matter beforehand.
Several parents may find it challenging to start a conversation with their teenagers and may feel hesitant. Here are a few tips that can help parents talk to their children about those grey areas, but before that, let us first understand the significance of sexuality and consent among teenagers, which takes us to our first section.
Importance of Sexuality and Consent
As we grow, our desires grow with us too, which is normal as a part of human development. However, teenagers lack understanding of a healthy relationship, not knowing their boundaries. One of the main reasons they involve in sexting is due to the pressure from their partners. Teenagers are often naïve and hardly understand the concept of consent, so several teenagers end up sending explicit content and forcibly asking for one due to their growing sexual desires. This is precisely why it is mandatory to teach the importance of consent here, which they will only understand after having a conversation with an adult they trust.
7 Tips for Parents to Discuss Sexting with Teenagers
Your children live in a modern society where they are commonly exposed to sexual images, language, and behaviour before they are fully mentally developed to handle their lust and desires. You need to monitor messages using a whatsapp tracker app to ensure they are not getting into trouble when their body is in the transformation phase, which usually happens between 12 and 17, which is the time when parents discuss and talk about sex.
Make them understand about affection
Help your child understand the significance of romance and real feelings that they may generate for someone. Discuss it with them in your own way, even if your perspective and definition differ from theirs. Then cross-question them what image do they have in their mind about love and similar concepts. Try to be on the same page to help them understand even better.
Ask if they have ever received or seen a sext
After a casual conversation, ask if they have sexted or seen a sext message before. Depending on their answer, make them understand how it is a big deal, discuss the pros and cons, and why they should be wary of it.
Be clear regarding online expectations
Now that you have developed the base make sure they have a clear understanding of online objectives and your expectations. Elaborate on both posting, forwarding, sharing sexts, and how pressurising others to send sexts is not okay.
Discuss the consequences
Tell them about the consequences they may have to bear if they fall into the trap of some sexual predator and how they misuse one’s helplessness to ask for more sexual favours.
Try to show alternate ways, which are healthier, such as genuinely getting committed to someone, getting involved with them, and discuss the significance of respectful and meaningful relationships.
Follow-up on the sext conversations
Talking directly and indirectly about sexting more will often make your child comfortable with you too. This should not be a one-time conversation, try taking follow-ups in different ways so that their mind stays on the right track.
As parents, you are liable to protect your children from sexual harassment, of which sexting could be a source. A healthy conversation with your children always helps so ensure establishing a friendly bond with them first and following the aforementioned parental tips before taking the plunge for the sexting conversation.
Though talking about sexting may be tricky and tough for some parents, it does not only help children make responsible choices but also allow them to be more confident. So make sure that you follow the tips for your children’s safety.