This may be very much unexpected; a sad truth. But indeed so many teenagers do engage in the totally unacceptable and even dangerous act of exchanging sexually-explicit images with others on the internet. This is called sexting and it usually involves pictures of private parts being exchanged. Most times, these pictures are solicited by the

[other party] during a chat. But then as it so happens, some teenagers (mostly boys) may eagerly sext a female friend  just to impress them. This has become a trend despite the obvious dangers associated with it. The question then is what can parents and guardians do to help teenagers from being entrapped in the snare of sexting?  

 As a parent, it’s important that you realize that most teenagers who sext are either struggling with self-esteem issues or succumbing to peer pressure. Others are coerced or “cyberbullied” into doing it while some others just want to rebel against their parents. Teenage girls most often are the ones who send out their nude pictures. Unfortunately, they are the ones who are worst affected by the repercussions/dangers associated with it. Some of such dangers include blackmail, a situation whereby the person who initially received the nude picture (or even a third party who happened to have access to it) begins to blackmail the victim to send more pictures. He or she may even be blackmailed into doing a lot more than just sending pictures.


So how can parents help prevent this from ever happening? Kindly do the following-

SET UP A HEALTHY HOME ENVIRONMENT: Teens who live in a well-adjusted home, have high self-esteem and are active and healthy are less likely to feel pressure to sext or to succumb to peer pressure to do so. A healthy home also establishes good relationships between parents and children, opening the doors for communication.

MONITOR YOUR TEENS SOCIAL MEDIA AND CELLPHONES: This doesn’t mean parents must check on their teens at all hours. Instead, random phone checks and access to a teen’s social media accounts for occasional inspection are usually enough to make teens nervous about getting caught with any explicit images on their devices.

  EXPLAIN THE CONSEQUENCES OF SEXTING: Paint a vivid picture about what happens to teens who send explicit photos of minors, including jail time. Use recent news stories of perpetrators in your state to illustrate the situation. Having clear, real and shocking consequences in mind can discourage many teens from even participating

SET LIMITS ON SOCIAL MEDIA USE: Many families have situations or times of the day where cellphones are banned, such as at dinner. Keeping teens of f their phones for all hours is another good way to limit all night chat sessions and so forth. Another option is to keep phone chargers in the parents’ room so the teen cannot access them once in bed.

EDUCATE TEENS ON WHAT TO DO: Not only is creating a sexually explicit photo and sending it considered sexting, but so is simply forwarding such an image. Even asking for sexually explicit photos of another is part of the overall problem. Parents need to teach teenagers what to do if they receive a sext and how to proceed before they get into trouble. about what teens should do if they ever receive sexts from peers. Parents who remain calm and reasonable are more likely to be approached by a teen than parents who are emotional and judgmental.

Parents who do all these steps will create an open, communicative environment where teens are educated, aware and confident enough to resist the thrill or the pressure to engage in sexting. Like most things in life, parents can only build a solid foundation for what they want their teens to do, but with wisdom and compassion, teens are more likely to make the right choices when it comes to sexting.