If you think the trend of teen sexting is troubling, just listen to some of the attitudes teens have about it. Many teens shrug and say it's no big deal, nothing could really happen. A recent study on teens and technology reported that 90% of teens who had sexted said that no negative consequences ever came from it.
Teens think they are invincible, that nothing bad would happen to them. If this describes your teen, talk about a few of 7 consequences of sexting that could make them regret hitting “send.”
It could be shared with people you don't intend to share it with. The person you are sexting might forward it to just one or two friends, who forward it to a few more, and so on. Or somebody else using that phone could stumble across it by accident. Or the recipient could decide to spread it around if they get mad at you.
It might go viral. If the photo is leaked online, you have officially lost all control of it. It could be posted and re-posted in any number of places, including adult sites, where anyone with a web connection could download and save it for their own use.
You could get a bad reputation. If you've got sexts of yourself floating around school, it will raises eyebrows – and not in a good way. Some people will like looking at the pictures, but they won't respect the subject of the photos (i.e: you.)
Adults could see it. A sext message that gets loose can be seen by your parents, teachers, coaches, or the people you babysit for. How mortifying.
There could be legal consequences. Taking, sending, or forwarding nude pictures of anyone under 18 – even yourself – could get you slapped with child pornography charges and you could be put on a sex offender registry for life.
You could get in trouble at school. Many schools suspend kids for sexting, and reserve the right to confiscate phones if they have reason to believe there are nude pictures of someone under 18 on them.
It could backfire. You might send a sext intending to impress or interest somebody, but it could turn them off instead. They might get the wrong impression of you – the exact opposite of what you wanted.
It's true that some kids do indeed get away with it. Your child could get lucky and their sext could be discreetly deleted, so that nothing bad does happen to them. But why risk it?
These 7 consequences are serious business, and your teen should think through all of them and make a decision not to send and share sext messages, of themselves or of other people.
[THIS BLOG POST WAS UPDATED ON 12/20/2018]