As a parent, you have probably already had the “sex talk” with your teenage son or daughter, but have you had the “sexting” talk? ‘Sexting’ is the practice of sending sexually explicit messages or images electronically, primarily via mobile phone. These messages and images can spread like wildfire through schools or even across the country and can even get posted on public websites—turning what may have seemed like a harmless act into one with severe consequences.
If you don’t think this is a problem with teens, think again. According to CommonSenseMedia.org, 22% of teen girls and 20% of teen boys have sent nude or semi-nude photos of themselves and 38% of all teens believe that exchanging such sexy content makes dating or hooking up with others more likely. Wow, those are sobering statistics.
As a security expert, I want to help parents deal with this growing problem and keep their children (and themselves) out of harm’s way. Here are some tips from my new ebook, Safe Text: Protecting Your Teens from the Dangers of Texting:
• Give your teen clear rules on what they can and can’t do with their mobile phone.
• Learn how to use and monitor your teen’s mobile phones.
• Talk about pressures to send revealing photos. Let teens know that you understand that they can be pushed or dared into sending something. Tell them that no matter how big the social pressure is, the potential social humiliation will be hundreds of times worse.
• Remind them that once an image is sent, it can never be retrieved – and they will lose control of it.
• The buck stops with them. If someone sends them a photo, have them delete it immediately
Don’t forget to enter the contest on Facebook to win a Kindle Fire @ www.protectyourteens.com
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