Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens and Sexting

Today’s parents seem to constantly have to keep up with the new concerns with teens today. “Sexting” is a growing and disturbing issue with many parents of teenagers today. What these kids are not realizing is what goes online, stays online and spreads like a virus. Teens today don’t think about college admissions or potential employers 2-4 years from now. In an instant, a not so flattering photo can arrive in thousands of mailboxes! That is, email boxes. Take the time to talk to your kids about the ramifications this can potentially have on their future.

Sex easily and quickly integrated itself into the digital age; and now the teen trend of “sexting” — where a user sends sexually explicit images or messages via text on a cell phone — has parents struggling for a way to address the situation.

“We’re seeing 14, 15 and 16-year-olds and up are very commonly sharing naked pictures or sexual pictures of themselves,” said Internet safety expert Parry Aftab, of Wired Safety. “We’re talking about kids who are too young to wear bras who are posing in them, and then topless and then actually engaged in sex or even in masturbation. So we are seeing a lot of kids who are sexually active.”

There’s nothing coy about this 21st century amorous pursuit. Children as young as 12, who aren’t sexually active, are sending explicit, provocative and even pornographic images to their peers.

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