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SEXTING - Think before you send!!! Dangers, Consequences and Tips

We live in a world where we have Instant information at our finger tips. Communication is so much easier in the 21st century. But as we have often heard… With great power comes great responsibility… Regrettably, this does not seem to be resonating with our teens.

In our modern world, its so easy to communicate and stay in touch with our friends and family via our smartphones (normal phone calls, text messages, emails, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, Gmail, Viber etc.

And with the rise in camera phones and smartphones with Internet access… We are seeing the rise of a term called Sexting which is the sending, receiving, or forwarding of sexually explicit messages, photographs, or images, primarily between mobile phones, of oneself to others. It may also include the use of a computer or any digital device.

Children and Young adults use the medium of the text message much more than any other new media to transmit messages of a sexual nature, and teenagers who have unlimited text messaging plans are more likely to receive sexually explicit texts.

Engaging in sexting is a dangerous activity for our teens with adverse side effects and the consequences can be life-long.

The Clinic has learnt that...

1. Most people do it for a joke

2. Do it to feel liked or sexy

3. Admit that they were pressured to do it by friends

Why Is Sexting a Problem?

• A photo shared between two people can quickly become a viral phenomenon. ...

• Sexting could result in charges of distributing or possessing child pornography.

• Bullying, harassment, and humiliation are common problems when the photos and messages get shared beyond the intended recipient.

In a recent Child-line survey the following information was gathered.

• 60% of children aged between 13-18 say they have been asked for nude images or videos of themselves.

• 40% say they have created images or videos of themselves.

• 25% said they have sent images or videos of themselves to someone else.

• Over half have received a sext and 15% confirm it was from someone they had never met

• The Internet watch Foundation have claimed that they have collected 88% of self generated sext type images onto other websites.

• Sending or receiving a sexually suggestive text or image under the age of 18 is considered child pornography and can result in criminal charges. Sharing nude pictures of others is not only bad… it is a crime

Things our teens may not know

• After the images are exposed, many begin to self harm which can instigate suicidal behavior.

• Most suicidal cases are linked to Sexting cases.

• Anything private you share online can be used against you…

Tips to prevent Sexting

• Set rules for internet and cell phone use with your child or teen.

• Discuss the consequences for breaking these rules. In the UK, it is an offence to make, distribute, possess or show any indecent images of anyone aged under 18, even if the content was created with the consent of that young person. The law is contained in section 1 Protection of Children Act 1978.7 Mar 2019

• As parents, we must continue to keep the lines of communication open with our childreen so that they are not afraid to talk about sexting with us. Self esteem issues could cause our children to fall prey to Sexting … as parents we need to constantly reassure them of their worth… And that they should not seek validation from their friends…

• We need to tell them that If someone demands sexual images or videos from them, They should stop immediately and make sure they report it to the authorities.

• We need to advise that If they receive sext messages they should not share them by forwarding it on… in fact they should not forward unknown messages to anyone… as they could be forwarding a nude image or video…

As parents, lets keep speaking to our teens...

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