With so many teens having their own cell phones today, families are facing new challenges that previous generations have not had to deal with. Sexting is one of those issues, and it isn’t something that parents can simply ignore. The consequences of sexting for minors can go far beyond what many teens and their parents may expect, as school and law enforcement officials do not take it lightly. There are also emotional and personal consequences, as well as legal issues that can arise. Parents need to be aware of these consequences, and to make their teens aware, too.
One of the most serious consequences from sending and sharing inappropriate images with others comes in the form of legal ramifications. This is something that often never occurs to a teen, but it can have a significant impact on the rest of their lives. The authorities have the option to charge the individuals who take and send the images, as well as those who receive and share the images, with distribution of child pornography. Such charges can have a devastating effect on a young person and their families, both emotionally and financially. It is crucial that parents make sure that their teens understand just how serious it can become if they engage in sexting. It’s a mistake that can’t be undone, and once the images are out there, the consequences become very real.
In addition to being charged with the distribution of child pornography, individuals may have to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives. Being a part of that registry is likely to damage the child’s ability to get hired for jobs, prevent them from getting into certain academic programs, and have them being ostracized from social groups. No parent would want this for their child.
Dealing with shame and embarrassment
If photos get shared among classmates, the teen in the images is likely to feel embarrassed, betrayed, and humiliated. They may feel ashamed of their actions, and they may face ridicule from their classmates. It can be very difficult for parents to help their child navigate these feelings, especially when the child has to continue going to school and seeing their peers on a daily basis. Dealing with the emotional outfall in addition to any legal actions that authorities may take can be overwhelming for parents and kids.
Damage to reputation and friendships
Another emotional consequence of sexting is the damage to the teen’s reputation, not only among their classmates, but also with friends and their parents. The child may see some friendships ending due to the situation, either because their friends no longer feel comfortable associating with them, or they succumb to peer pressure from others, or even because their parents are no longer comfortable with their child spending time around them. This can lead to even more feelings of guilt, shame, sadness, and betrayal.
Related: Bad Effects of Sexting in Teens
Sexting is not something that any parent or child can afford to take lightly. The consequences of sexting can have a long lasting impact on a family, as they are not only emotional, but also legal, as well. Parents need to educate themselves, as well as make sure that their children understand just how damaging it can be to send and receive inappropriate images on their mobile devices.