Handling Problems with Teenage Sexting

Marcelina Hardy, MSEd, BCC
Teen sending text message

Teenage sexting has become a growing trend that is both dangerous and illegal. Many teens believe that sexting is harmless fun, but it's proving to be much more than that.

The Growing Problem of Teenage Sexting

Sexting is sending text messages with flirtatious and/or nude and semi-nude photos. Usually, boyfriends and girlfriends send them to each other to flirt or entice each other. With many more teenagers having cell phones, teenage sexting has grown in popularity in the last couple of years. According to The National Campaign, twenty percent of teenagers have participated in sexting. Specifically, twenty-two percent of teenage girls and eighteen percent of teenage boys have sent a sexy text message. As more teens learn about sexting, these numbers will increase especially as it's used as a tool for peer pressure. Currently, approximately fifty-one percent of teenage girls felt pressured to send a sexy message by their boyfriend.

The Problem with Sexting

While many teenagers may not see any problem with sending a nude picture of themselves, it's much more serious than they think. Forty-four percent of teen girls and boys report that it's common to share sexy text messages intended for someone else. For nude or semi-nude pictures, thirty-six percent of teen girls and thirty-nine of teen boys say they also share them with others.

When a Relationship Ends the Real Issues Begin

The real problem with teenage sexting happens after a teen couple breaks up. Many vengeful boyfriends and girlfriends post sexually explicit text messages and nude or semi-nude pictures on social networking sites such as facebook. These are available for everyone to see and ruin a person's reputation.

Teen Suicide as a Result of Sexting

Sexting is one of the reasons for teen suicide. These text messages and images have lead to bullying and humiliation for the sender, which causes severe depression. The teen that sent the messages is so embarrassed that he/she doesn't want to tell anyone else about what happened and doesn't feel there is any other way out than ending his/her life.

Pedophiles Looking Out for Sexting Teens

Pedophiles are also on the lookout for posted nude and semi-nude images by teenagers. Some will keep them but others will seek out the teen in the photos. Many of these pedophiles will pretend to be someone they are not just to trap the teenager to commit a sex crime.

Teens Convicted for Child Pornography

Besides the embarrassment and dangerous exposure to pedophiles, teenage sexting is also a crime. Many teens have already received a distribution of child pornography conviction and are registered sex offenders for sending nude or semi-nude photos of themselves or redistributing it to others. These convictions are serious and remain with the teenager for life.

What Parents Can Do to Help Protect Their Teen

Discuss sexting with your teenager. Some teens don't realize how damaging sexting can be to their reputation and others have no idea about the legal consequences.

Cell phone monitoring is another defense against teenage sexting. Knowing what your teenager is doing on his/her phone is crucial. Cell phone programs can help you monitor what your teen does daily on his/her cell phone. Mobile Spy secretly records all SMS text messages and gives you GPS locations of where your teenage is. Mobile Nanny allows you to lock certain programs on your teen's phone so you don't have to worry about over usage or inappropriate use. Both of these programs are highly recognized and are effective ways to ensure your teen refrains from the damaging effects of teenage sexting.

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Handling Problems with Teenage Sexting