I love when parents are shocked that their teens are sexting.
Give a hot-blooded teenager a device to say whatever they want to whomever they want from the privacy of their bedroom and it really shouldn’t be a huge surprise that a few spicy “sexts” are going to be sent.
I have never sent or received a sext, probably because by the time texting became a big thing, I was already married with a child and it just didn’t seem appropriate to send my husband nudey close-ups of my stretch marks. Whoa baby. He may have had to rush home in a fit of passion.
But, for teenagers, sexting is pretty much rampant, and a new study shows link between this 21st-century phenomenon and increased risky sexual activity among teens.
The study, from researchers at the University of Southern California, found that teens who sexted are seven times more likely to be sexually active. In particular, girls who had sent naked photos via text were more likely to engage in risky sex, had multiple recent sex partners or used alcohol and drugs before sex.
I was glad to see this study because I don’t think sexting is something teens or parents should be taking lightly. I’m sure many teenagers think they are just playing around with sexual texts or photos and don’t ever intend to actually follow through with the things they write. But I think girls in particular don’t realize that teasing boys with sexts is a losing game. A girl can quickly lose her reputations and ruin relationships, not to mention altering her own self-image.
I honestly don’t know what I would do if I picked up my daughter’s cell phone (in ten yeas from now), and saw a naked photo of herself in her outbox. Well, I mean after my head exploded, that is.
I do know that my daughter would probably never have a cell phone again. I also think the best thing parents can do when it comes to sexting is to establish cell phone rules when kids are young. Setting limits on cell phone use, disallowing phone use in bedrooms and random spot-checks of texts seem like a good place to start.
What do you do in your house to prevent sexting? How would you handle it if you found incoming or outgoing sexts on your child’s phone?