Sexting (Family Safety)
Young children often don't think about the moral and social impacts of their actions, and giving them access to technology that makes something like sexting so easy is really concerning. A recent article in the Utah School Law Update mentions that children as young as 10 years old are receiving sexually explicit images on their cell phones. Apart from the extreme emotional toll that sexting can have on a teenager, there is also the very real possibility that they are breaking the law - if the individual in the picture is under age, the image is considered child pornography, which has very strict laws attached to it. Distribution of one of these images to an under-aged person is also illegal. Not only are these kids causing themselves potential harm by allowing innappropriate images of themselves to exist "out there" forever, but they are also putting themselves in a very real danger of having a criminal record at a very young age, and possibly finding themselves on the sexual predators list.
Tips & suggestions
- Images that are sent to a cell phone are usually stored on them. Spot check your children’s phone. Look at the images on the phone and be sure you know how they are using it. Watch the phone bill to see how many images they are sending and receiving each month.
- There are plenty of warning signs in the text messages that our children receive. Spot check these as well, to see who is in their contact list. Ask them about these people: who they are, how they met, how long they have known them. Predators know how to get to our children and if they can make it onto our children’s phone contact list, they have made a significant in-road with them
- Talk to your child about sexting. It is quite likely that your children are already familiar with the term. Help them to understand the seriousness of this issue, and the very real consequences of participating in it.
- Use the parental controls on your mobile devices. Many carriers allow you to restrict MMS capability, as well as web surfing. Weigh the benefits of these features against the risks and determine what is best for your family.
- Utah School Law Update,Those Sexting Teens, January 2010