Using technology is a big part of our lives and it's becoming very common to use it for romantic interactions. In particular, teenagers are using sexting to express sexual or romantic feelings.
What is sexting?
Sexting is when someone shares explicit texts, images or videos through the internet or their mobile phone.
It's often done as an expression of love or lust but it's not always used in a positive way. It's important to help your teenager understand that, while it might seem fun or enticing at times, it's important to still be safe and choose wisely who you send intimate messages to as it may have serious consequences.
What if your teenager receives unwanted sexts?
- Tell your teen to immediately delete the message
- Ensure that they do not share it with anyone
- Tell them to reply to the sender telling them that the content was unwanted and to not send any more images or videos
- If images are coming via social media, unfriend, block or report the offender.
What if your teenager’s explicit images have been shared without permission?
- Even if you’re shocked by your teen’s behaviour, try to stay calm and focus on helping them.
- If the image has been shared on social media, untag if possible and report the material to the social media provider.
- If your teen knows of any people who may have received the material, assist them to ask people to delete it.
What if your teen feels pressure to send explicit material?
- If your teen shares with you that they feel pressure to send explicit material, try to stay cool and open up a conversation about the issue. Ask them how they feel about it.
- Reassure them that it’s totally OK to refuse to send images.
- Ensure that they know to never send explicit images to someone that they’ve only met online, as there is really no way of knowing who they are actually sending the material to
Talk to them about how such pressure can indicate a wider problem in the relationship that may need addressing.