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Advice For Parents

How to deal with sexting as a parent

It is natural to want to protect your child or teenager from the potential problems associated with sexting. Share the following points with your child and formulate an approach that resonates with them. Work on finding a way to help them understand the various ways to avoid sexting related issues such as blackmail and revenge porn without them feeling like you don’t understand – or that you are trying to ruin their life!

Think before you send

When sending messages online, it can feel easy to just press send without giving it a second thought, but when you press send, you lose ownership of any content that message contains. The recipient of the message could screenshot it and distribute it onto social media or share it with their friends without your permission.

Always remember to make yourself aware of the risks and consequences before sending anything, once it’s sent, it could remain online forever.

Remember who can see your images

Once you send or post an image, it could become public, making it possible for family, teachers or potential employers to see. If this image is compromising or suggestive in any way, it could affect your future by making employers concerned about hiring you.

Try to only post or share images you would be comfortable with your parents, teachers or a potential employer seeing. It could save you a lot of embarrassment in the future.

Is it legal?

In many countries and states, it is considered to be a breach of the law to create, send, collect or ask for sexually explicit images of someone under the age of 18. This rule still applies if the recipient is also under the age of 18 and can result in many forms of prosecution, including prison sentences.

Make sure before engaging in any form of sexting, that it is completely legal to do so and both parties aren’t minors.

Talk to an adult you trust

Peer pressure to participate in sexting can be overwhelming. Remember that you don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to, and reach out to an adult you trust if anybody tries to talk you into it.

Respect yourself

Nobody else owns you or your body, so don’t give them ownership. Be proud of who you are and don’t be influenced by people who fail to respect your boundaries. Love yourself!

Use online security

Unfortunately, not everybody that uses the internet is nice or friendly. Tools such as blocking, reporting and filtering your social media accounts are very useful – don’t be afraid to use them if you need to. It is your social media account, and your right to decide what you want so see and who you want to hear from!

As a parent or carer with younger children, you will have more control over this and might want to set up some security on your child’s profile to monitor use of the platforms yourself.

Know who your real friends are

It’s not only strangers that can be a danger. If someone you know passes on an inappropriate image it can damage you for years to come. Everybody makes mistakes, even friends, so be careful what you trust them with.

Don’t crack under pressure

Not only do young people deal with the peer pressure because “everybody’s doing it,” but they also potentially have to deal with pressure from people online – pushing them to send sexually explicit content.

It’s important to let your child know that when something like this happens, they shouldn’t feel as though they have to take part. Instead, they should put the blocking and reporting tools on that particular platform into action. Remind them that the person pressuring them to send images of this nature is not respecting their body or their privacy.