Yesterday, we covered the dangers of texting while driving. Today, we’re going to talk about sexting. Don’t worry, we’ll be gentle.
Sexting refers to sending a text message with sexually explicit content or a sexually explicit picture, including naked pictures or pictures of people kissing or engaging in other sexual acts.
According to experts interviewed by the Mayo Clinic for a PSA:
Even if sexting seems to be the norm among your teen’s peer group, explain the emotional consequences of sexting to your teen. Sexting can be uncomfortable for the sender — especially if he or she is pressured into it — as well as the receiver.
The Dangers of Sending Sexually Explicit Messages
The possible long-term impact of sexting matters, too. A picture or message meant for one person can be forwarded to an entire contact list at any time — and once it’s in circulation, there’s no way to control it. A photo or message could resurface years later under other circumstances, possibly causing great embarrassment or even problems with work or school.
Although laws and degree of enforcement might vary from state to state, make sure your teen understands that the possession of sexually explicit images of a minor is considered a crime. The consequences could be serious, including a police record, suspension from school or legal action.
Bottom line: If you wouldn’t be comfortable sharing the photo or message with the entire world, don’t send it.