Is Your Teen Sex-ting?

Filed under: Opinions

Here's a lesson you need to make sure your teen knows: those explicit photos of themselves they're sending via cell phone can STILL wind up on the internet. Or on someone else's cell phone.

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And before you say, Oh my kid would NEVER do that! listen to this: a recent study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com found that 20 percent of teens say they have sent or posted nude or semi-nude pictures or video of themselves. That's one in five, which means that someone on your child's basketball or cheerleading team has probably done this.Some school officials say that the actual number of kids "sex-tine" is higher than that. Jim Brown, school resource officer at Glen Este High School in Cincinnati, says that far more than 20 percent of his school's students are participating in this trend. "If I were to go through the cell phones in this building right now of 1,500 students, I would venture to say that half to two-thirds have indecent photos, either of themselves or somebody else in school."

More disturbing, though, is that teens seem to understand that their photos will be passed around; the survey found that 44 percent of teens say it's common for their sexually explicit images and text messages to be shared with people other than the intended recipient. Jim Brown says, "They think, 'I have the right to decide what's best for me.' The next thing you know, it's on YouTube, and you become an international star because you're exposing part of your body. ... Then, they want to retrieve their good reputation, and they can't."

My kid are too young for cell phones right now, but I'm already talking with them about the internet and how everything you post lives there forever. I'm also trying to make sure that they respect themselves enough not to give in to peer pressure, which is the really hard lesson. Mostly, though, I'm just preparing myself for years of keeping a close eye on what they're up to, on line and off. What about you?

Do you check your teen's cell phone for sexy texts?
Of course - kids need guidance.47 (17.8%)
Sometimes - only if I'm concerned.48 (18.2%)
No - I trust my child.137 (51.9%)
My kid doesn't have a cell phone.32 (12.1%)

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.