The internet has opened up possibilities in good and bad ways. It’s now possible to meet other people online and start up internet relationships, but this isn’t always a good thing. Sexting has become common, whether with people you know offline or not.
As a parent you need to be aware of this. Sexting involves sending sexual messages, whether through text form, images, or even video. They are traditionally sent via text messaging (sexting is short for “sex texting”) but can now be sent via message apps and social media.
Either way, your teen may be involved in sexting with people online. Sometimes they know them from school but there are others they may have only met online. Whichever way, you need to be aware to make sure you protect your teen.
Sexting can be dangerous, both physically and emotionally. Know the top dangers of sexting so you can help protect your teen from the possibilities online.
Pressurized Into Sexting
Teens can be pressurized into sexting. It can be a form of cyber bullying and even a scam, leading to potential damage in the future.
If they know someone at school, they may be pressurized into sexting with them. There’s the chance of the other person telling the school about the sexting or even telling another secret. Teens can be afraid of someone sharing the sexually explicit photos if they stop.
When it comes to people they don’t know online, there’s the fear of their photos being shared online after they send the initial one. Teens can be blackmailed into continuing a sexting relationship even though they don’t want to.
Whether the photos are shared online or with people they know or not, the mental damage is done. Teens are worried about the outcome and it can lead to suicidal thoughts as the only way to get out of the predicament they’re in.
Teens don’t tend to reach out when they’re being emotionally or socially blackmailed. They’re worried they’ll make things worse or they’re embarrassed. It’s important to keep an eye out for signs of this happening to help them.
It Can be Considered Child Pornography
Depending on the age of the teen, the photos they take and distribute can be considered child pornography. Even if its their photos, they can be charged with disseminating child pornography in some states.
It’s important that your teen knows of the legal repercussions and not just for them. Even if they are of legal age, they need to consider the person they’re sexting isn’t. Or they need to think of repercussions for the person receiving and sending other texts.
Teenagers can be registered as sex offenders, even if the images they’ve got saved are their own. This can completely damage their futures.
There’s a Risk of Sexual Predators
Unfortunately, the world can be a dark and dangerous place. Even online, your teen can come across the wrong people. That’s especially the case when it comes to sexting.
One of the biggest dangers of sexting is getting gin touch with a sexual predator. These can be people they know or they don’t know in the offline world.
The truth is, the teen has no control over what happens when they send a photo. They can’t control who sees it or what the recipient does with it. This photo can end up online or circulating friends, leading to embarrassment or bullying. It can also lead to sexual predators finding out who they are and getting in direct contact.
Teens are at high risk of being sexually exploited by someone who claims to be another person. The trust built while sexting can lead to meeting offline and dangers of abuse, rape, and other events.
A Teen’s Reputation Is Ruined
Remember that you have no control over what happens when the picture is sent. It’s important to know that you can trust someone. While you may send sexual texts to your husband or wife, you’ve likely been with them longer and you’re ready to deal with the things that could happen if something goes wrong.
A teenager isn’t quite ready for that. And other teenagers are mean, crude, and sometimes just downright awful. They’ll send the pictures to their friends and this can lead to teachers and potential employers seeing them.
Your teen’s reputation is ruined from sexting. Photos and videos are the worst, but there’s also the problem of finding worded messages that have some identifying elements. A ruined online reputation affects a teen mentally, but it can also lead to a loss of future job, being expelled from school, and a complete destruction of their future.
The Lasting Damage in the Future
The images don’t just disappear. Even on Snapchat, there’s the possibility for someone to save a photo and use it elsewhere. Those sexts that your teen sent when impressionable and young can end up causing problems in the future.
Just think about the images showing up 10 or 20 years down the line. They may have a successful job and someone they know has found these long-lost photos. Their reputation now is ruined from photos of the past, leading to a loss of job and potential relationship.
There’s the potential of prosecution in the future, depending on how the images were distributed and if the police has suspicion your teen was guilty of a crime in the past. This could lead to other legal drama in the future when they didn’t have anything to do with it past sending the initial message.
Even if a career isn’t damage, friendships can be. There’s the embarrassment of close friends potentially seeing photos decades later, leading to some questions and awkward moments.
In some cases, the photos can end up in the national newspaper. They never disappear and someone, eventually, will find those photos. This is especially a problem when doing a Google search before hiring.
Your teen will currently only think of the now. That’s highly common but when sexting, they need to think about the future. There are all sorts of risks and dangers when sending sexually explicit messages and photos.