For many California parents with teenagers, concerns of their children interacting with acquaintances of the opposite gender are met with feelings of anxiety and worry. While many parents do their best to properly educate their children, teenagers are often known for pushing the limits and curiously figuring things out by themselves. Sexting for example, while seemingly innocent and harmless, can actually be quite threatening and harmful to the emotional health of anyone.
According to Psychology Today, the act of sharing or exchanging sexually explicit or suggestive material between different people is considered sexting. Even though the term is loosely used to identify any type of information sharing of this kind, it became popular as technology has grown and become more prevalent. With an increase in the use of technology, sharing information has become easier and falsely appears to be more private. Research suggests that approximately 20-30 percent of teenagers have either been the recipient or sender of a sext message.
Sexting can prove to be quite dangerous and provides strangers, pedophiles and sex traffickers with information that could compromise the safety and well-being of involved parties. The Huffington Post shared some of these dangers. These include the following:
- Increased vulnerability and sexualization of minors
- Potential legal repercussions when content is exchanged with minor-aged participants
- Allows minors to form beliefs that sex is popular and fun without proper education about potential side-effects and consequences
- Heightened chances of participants being targeted for exploitation, abuse, kidnapping and other harmful behaviors
One of the most effective ways that parents can teach and positively influence their children to avoid sexting, is to put rules in place regarding supervision and proper use of electronics.