Since the time your child was born, you've been her guardian and protector. You've always been there for her. Now she's a teenager. And, like many teenagers, she's always on her iPhone. Now is not the time to put your head in the sand. Perhaps now more than ever is the time to be there for your child, to protect her against a serious, life-changing mistake: Sexting.
Sexting can get kids into the biggest trouble of their lives.
USA Today columnist Steven Petrow recently quoted our own Patrick Roberts:
"In today's world," Mr. Roberts said, "it's very common for teens to engage in sexually explicit video chats or to send each other nude images. Unless a state has carved out an exception for an individual under a certain age, child porn laws apply to this conduct."
This kind of 'digital sex' happens more often that you'd like to believe.
You'd rather not, but imagine that your teenage daughter sends a sexually explicit image of herself to her boyfriend. Perhaps this is the safest "safe sex" around. True, there's no risk of pregnancy or STDs.
But there's still plenty of risk.
"The key is education. The more kids know about this law in this area, the better."
- Patrick Roberts
The problem in a nutshell (and what you can do about it):
- Have the new birds-and-bees talk: Warn your child not to send sexually explicit images or video. Even if it makes you uncomfortable.
- Warn about felony criminal charges: In general, sending and/or receiving sexually explicit content may expose your child to criminal charges: possession of child porn, distribution of child porn, and/or sex offender registration.
- Warn about the risks to your child's well-being: Sexually explicit content in the wrong hands - including the wrong hands of a dumped boyfriend - can expose your child to ridicule, shame, embarrassment, humiliation, and so on, in a place where these issues can be extremely difficult to handle (read: high school).
Simply put, you do not want this happening to your son or daughter, so it's worth having the birds-and-bees talk, even if you think your son or daughter would never do such a thing. The legal pitfalls of sexting are just too serious to ignore.
Source: USA Today - Teen sexting is definitely a problem, but a felony?