What To Do If Your Child Has Been Sexting
You will need to sit down and discuss your concern about sexting with your child. Whenever possible, take some time to think about the right approach fr this discussion. If you immediately react in a negative way when finding out about your child’s sexting, by yelling or confronting your child in the wrong tone or environment, this will most likely result in your child not effectively communicating with you, as well as, you not being able to communicate everything needed to your child. This conversation may be embarrassing for you and/or your child, but it is very important for you to remain calm, yet direct. Ask questions and be prepared to listen.
Be sure to let your child know that while you do not approve of this type of behavior, you are there for them now and for the future. Do not place blame on them as this may make your child become resentful towards you for addressing this behavior. Your child needs your support and advice, not criticism.
- You may or may not know the person your child is sexting. Depending upon the scenario some questions may include:
- Was this a friend you sent this picture to?
- Where did you meet this friend?
- How long have you been sending these pictures to this friend?
- Is there more than one person you are sending pictures to?
- Have they ever met this friend in person?
- Does this friend send you pictures?
- Has this friend ever threatened you if you would not send them a picture, etc?
Explain to your child the risks of sexting. Discuss a course of action for the future with your child. Confirming boundaries and limitations with their cell phone will be important. Be consistent and firm with the boundaries set. Maintain your support and reassurance to your child. Continue future conversations about how to stay safe and that they can talk to you if something ever makes them feel scared or uncomfortable.
You may need to notify your local authorities depending upon the nature of the sexting. If needed, promptly seek counseling or guidance from your local authorities. Your local police department may be able to refer you to a local support group for parents or your child.
Stay involved with your child and how they are interacting with texting as well as the internet including social media outlets i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine. Familiarize yourself with parental controls on computers and cell phones. Depending upon the abuse, do random cell phone checks or confiscate the phone. Be an effective role model to your child. Parents are teens’ most important role models, so be responsible when texting and interacting on social media applications.