Do you often find your kids staying glued to their phone screens? Do you often catch them typing continuously on their phones? Have you ever given a thought to who they are texting with and what sort of messages they are exchanging with others?
What if your kid is engaged in sexting? What if they are sending and receiving inappropriate messages with others on their smartphones? If you think your kid has been affected by sexting or is involved in exchanging sexts with the other person, then you should take immediate action.
Many parents consider the idea of installing spy apps for Android or iPhone on their kid’s smartphones so that they can monitor all the conversations that they are having with others. While installing spy apps on your kid’s phone is one option that you can consider, the other option is to discuss the harmful dangers of sexting with your kids.
When your kids are aware of the potential dangers of sexting, they wouldn’t exchange inappropriate messages with others and stay away from such acts. Therefore, it is important for parents to make their kids understand how sexting can be dangerous for them and why they shouldn’t be involved in it.
Introduction to Sexting
Sexting is when someone exchanges sexually explicit photos or videos with another person through their smartphone or the internet. It can also consist of text messages. Due to easy access to the internet and smartphones with cameras, sexting has become more common among users.
Because it is easy to access the internet, kids can be exposed to the world of pornography and watch online sex. When they watch porn, they are provoked to try the same acts and hence they engage in sexting. Somehow, they find it much easier to exchange messages of sexual nature with another person through their smartphones while being in their homes.
Parents are concerned about their kids getting engaged in sexting because it can have severe negative effects on their mental state.
Why is Sexting Bad for Your Kids?
Sexting is extremely dangerous for kids. It can impact their mental health. Once they send their sexually explicit images or videos to the other person, they can do anything with it. They can either forward the content to someone else or post it somewhere online. If this happens, the private content of your kid becomes available to everyone on the internet.
This can cause extreme distress to your kids. To cope with the shame and guilt resulting from their exposed content, they resort to unhealthy ways such as isolating themselves, self-harming, and not taking their meals on time.
The consequences of sexting may also lead your kids to develop feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and even depression. When they know all their private images and videos have been made public, they cannot sleep well or even concentrate on their studies. They remain restless all the time because of the shame and guilt that they have to face.
Sexting can also be bad for your kids especially when they send a sexually explicit image or video to someone and do not get the response that they were looking for. This can severely impact their self-esteem and body image. They may also experience bullying from others that can further hurt their self-esteem.
Kids who engage in sexting are likely to try out sexual acts in real life. This can disturb their mental state to a great extent. Some young kids are forced to have sexting with others and hence, they are lead to facing trauma. When images and videos of a young kid are exposed on the internet, it can ruin their reputation and may haunt them forever.
Why Discussing the Dangers of Sexting with Your Kids is Important?
It is important to discuss the dangers of the online world with your kids. You must explain to your kids why it is important to stay safe on the internet and how they can stay safe. No matter how difficult this conversation may feel, you must have it with your kids.
The moment you hand over the smartphone to your kids, you must explain all the rules that your kids would have to follow while using the internet. When you define boundaries for them, they will be more likely to accept them and keep themselves away from online dangers.
When you talk to them about the dangers of sexting, they will be more aware of it and try to keep themselves away from engaging in this activity. You must tell them why sexting is dangerous for them and how can it impact their mental health. When kids are aware of all of this, they would not engage in sexting and will also not give in to peer pressure. Make your kids comfortable around you so that they can come to you when they feel someone is pressurizing them to engage in sexting.
How to Discuss the Dangers of Sexting with Your Kids?
Here’s how you can discuss the dangers of sexting with your kids:
- Choose a time to have a discussion with your kid about the dangers of sexting when they are not emotional. Rather, talk to them when they are rational, calm, and not distracted by any other activity.
- Create rules for internet and smartphone usage so your kids won’t spend the most time online.
- Explain to your kid what sort of photos and videos they should not send to anyone on the internet and that their body is private and they should never be forced to expose it to anyone.
- Explain to your kid that someone asking them for a sext is completely inappropriate and illegal and how young kids are compelled to engage in sexting.
- Explain to your kid that it is completely okay to stand out from the rest and not follow their peer group.
- Explain to your kid the consequences of sexting and how it can affect their mental state.
- Make your kid understand that they can come to you and talk to you about any pressure that they receive regarding sexting and that you will support them and be non-judgmental.
We cannot stress the importance of having a conversation about sexting with your kids. However, at the same time, you also need to monitor your kid’s text messages and instant messages to see if they are not exchanging sexts with another person. This is only possible when you install a cell phone spy app on their smartphone.
A cell phone spy app can give you insight into your kid’s entire smartphone activity. You can check your kid’s phone calls, text messages, instant chats, internet browsing history, location, and social media activity.