How to handle sexting in teens: Expert shares insights
It's important for parents to successfully navigate conversations regarding healthy sexual development and technology. Here are some ways to handle sexting in teens.
When you have your first sex conversation with a teen, they frequently feel as though they might pass out from shame. Wait though; the sexting conversation can raise the level of embarrassment. It's crucial for parents to go past these uncomfortable emotions in order to safeguard and guide their kids. To successfully navigate conversations regarding healthy sexual development and technology, you must first understand why kids are sexting and the potential consequences.
According to a study by the National Library of Medicine, that involved 656 high school students in 2017 found that 40.5% of male teens and 30.6% of female teens had received nudes. Don't be too hard on yourself for being taken off guard; your astonishment at this seemingly quick change in your child is a typical part of the process, too. (Also read: How to educate your teen about sexual health; Expert shares insights)
Dr. Hina Talib, Pediatrician and Adolescent Medicine Specialist, suggested ways to handle sexting in teens, in her recent Instagram post.
1. Start the conversation early
Start having conversations about what healthy relationships look like, what consent means and how to be a good digital citizen- without ever mentioning sexting
2. Brainstorm with your child
You and your child can also brainstorm ways to say no. Deflecting the request with humour is one-way experts say kids might feel more comfortable.
3. Clam down
If you learn your child has been asking for or sharing nude photos, try to regain your composure before your talk. When you overreact, the tendency is for your child to feel ashamed which will cause them not to go to you in the future.
4. Do some scenario planning
Play a game of what-if with your kids, asking what they would do if they received a sext, or if someone pressured them to share one.
5. Make it about someone else
If you hear about or see a news article about a minor who has been charged with possession of child pornography, use that as an opportunity to raise the issue.
If you discover that your children have nude photos of themselves or of other minors on their phones, explain that the photos should be deleted immediately.
7. Designate a proxy
If you don't have a great relationship with your teen or the conversation doesn't go well, you can suggest they talk about sexting with another adult with whom they feel comfortable.