4 Ways to deal with your teen's sexting
As the mom of 13- and 10-year-old girls, I'm very aware of sexting. The moment I gave them a phone, tablet and computer we had "the talk" about internet safety and rules. I'm aware of the social pressure and hormones that will rule the lives of my daughters, and burying my face in a pillow won't change that. I have embraced the fact that they might send risqué content at some point. I am aware of sexual predators, date rape, pornography and the sexual harassment that occurs every second online. I'm prepared to deal with sexts, but are you?
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We live in an overly sexual culture. Kim Kardashian's ass, the erotic videos of rappers (hello Anaconda!) and the transformation of Miley Cyrus have left us parents numb. My daughters are unfortunately growing up in this time and for them all these might be "normal." I fear that because it's acceptable, they think is allowed to copy that behavior later on. These are some of the things I do to prevent that.
1. Show, don't tell: Teens respond better to images than words. That's why emojis have become so popular and abbreviations the only way they "talk." I share with my daughters all the bad news related to internet safety--the more shocking, the better. The key here is prevention because the moment the upload something, it's out there forever.
2. Respect the hormones: Girls are going to fall in love and compete for the attention of the boy they like. You know how that goes, we tend to do crazy stuff when we are in Lalaland. Your daughter is about to take a shower, the phone is in the bathroom and suddenly a naked selfie is taken, sent and deleted. It's that easy! She needs to know that's not okay, before it happens.
3. Keep the conversation open: Make your son or daughter understand why sexting is not good. It's all about trust and they don't want their naked photo to ruin their chances to get into a good college or job. Teens easily betray each other and they share. They violate privacy easily because they never think long term. Ask your daughter frequently if she sent something questionable. Act right away!
4. Share everything! Chances are that you are paying for your kid's phone. Make sure you share the same iCloud. You can monitor her activity there without asking for her phone. The moment you see something suspicious, face the issue head on. If she lies and continues the behavior, replace her phone for a simple one without a camera. Trust me, they'll hate it now, but they'll thank you in the future.
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