Is Sexting Really Dangerous?
If we have learned anything about sexting, we know it’s fun but foolish and potentially dangerous. Politicians and celebrities are often in the news because of sexting. Some have experienced ruined careers and/or ruined relationships. They tell the media they were caught up in the moment or meant no harm. In the end, the fun was not worth the consequence.
The act is particularly dangerous for youths. Kids are often drawn into sexting with strangers; people who aren’t who they claim to be. The result may be dangerous or even fatal. Even the most diligent parents can’t be on alert 24/7. Educating children is vital to their safety.
What is Sexting?
Sexting is sending or receiving nude pictures or sexually suggestive text messages through a mobile phone. Teenagers engage in sexting to prove an attraction or to keep a mate. Statistics show that 1 in 7 teens sends sext messages; 1 in 4 receives messages. It’s common for a person to receive a message containing a nude photo or sexual suggestion. If that happens, the child should report it to a parent immediately. The parent can use an app for unknown number look ups to find out who owns the number and report it to authorities.
Teens and politicians aren’t the only ones sending the messages:
- 12% to 16% of youths ages 10 to 19 have sent nude or semi-nude images via their mobile phones.
- 15% of teens have received a sexually explicit image through text or social media.
- 40% of 18 to 34 year-olds admitted to sexting
- 10% of people 55 years old and over admitted to sending sexts.
- Sexts are sent almost equally between male and females.
It’s just like it sounds. Sextortion is a form of extortion or blackmail using sexually elated messages or photos against the person that sent them. It is most common among teens or couples that have recently ended a relationship. It happens between friends who are fighting. Also referred to as “revenge porn,” sextortion can easily embarrass the persons joining in the conversation. It may cause animosity, embarrassment, or worse. Teens can be outcast, expelled or denied access into college. People put themselves at risk, including their future careers and relationships. People need to remember that once a photo or message is on the Internet, it is there forever. You can’t get it back.
Additionally, sexting carries legal issues. The person taking or sending the picture can face fines or even jail for distributing pornography, even if that person is a minor.
First, you need to educate yourself about sexting, including the dangers and consequences.
To avoid the embarrassment and possible legal problems from sexting, simply refuse. Do not take nude or compromising pictures. Do not engage in sexual conversations.
Lastly, avoid keeping inappropriate photos and videos on your computer. At the least, computers can be hacked and private photos can be leaked to social media sites.