She was only 9 when she stripped the first time. He was only 13 when he pressured her to do it. Today’s teens are skyping or camming 24/7 and much of that time is stripping and masturbating. Nobody wants to hear it. Everyone rather deny their child could be a part of this. But the fact is, it is happening and more than you know. Sexting! Where sexual images and texting meet.
PCs and Dreams stated in their statistics that 71 Percent of teen girls and 67% of teen guys who have taken sexually suggestive content have forwarded or posted this content to a boyfriend or girlfriend. They further state that 44 Percent of both teen girls and teen boys say it is common for sexually suggestive text messages to get shared with people other than the intended recipient.These are mostly picture sent messages/video via the cell phone. This doesn’t account for how many cam live stripping over the computer internet.
Statistics for watching Porn is far worse. The average age is 11 years old in watching porn for the first time. 93% of boys and 62% of girls are exposed to porn before the age of 18 stated by The Pink Cross Organization.
So that brings me to this question. “Why is there a rise in teen viewing and participation in porn activity?” The truth is most just want to be validated in how others view their body and how they can be accepted. Others just do it for shock value. Somewhere in their life, the root of this issue lies with the relational foundation of their family, their peers, if they’ve been sexually exposed or abused at a young age or how much they were loved.
Being exposed literally brings shame, desensitization and enslavement for boys. For girls it is embarrassment, sexual harassment, body issues and confusion. For many, it becomes an addiction that is hard to break. Once they are deep into that culture, further problems become the norm; Drugs, drinking, depression, sexual promiscuity and STD’s, and for many suicidal inclinations as well. It is a spiraling out of control roller coaster ride and many teens have no hope in getting out of it.
So how do we as parents deal with this, especially if we don’t even know if our kids are involved in this type of activity in the first place?
Alone for extended periods of time.
Constantly on the phone/texting (obsessive) at all hours and picture taking.
If they are in a relationship with someone, this heightens the opportunity for sexting.
View the phone bill: Take time to see how much of it is calling, texting and picture media taking.
Mood and behavior changes as well as language.
Contacts on phone with no images or person or name.
Virtual on-line games that have 3D images to make them more real life.
Deleted messages of blank messages.
Is your teen overly protective of their phone or starts an argument when you politely ask to see the phone? These indicators show that your teen is hiding something. It may not necessarily mean it is a sexting issue, but it is some kind of issue that you need to be concerned about.
What does a parent do?
Monitor your teen’s usage on the phone (phone bill, do surprise checks)
Do not allow them to have their phone during the night. This frame time increases the use of phone sexting.
Have a frank talk with your teen. Ask them outright, “Have you seen …. Have you done…” Now is the time to share with them what happens after they click “SEND”
Share with your teen where the images go (could end up on facebook, google images, etc…).
Check History on computer and phone of any type of apps that you can message and send pictures.
Have school monitor your teen regarding phone usage.
Put a password protect lock on computer and phone.
Inform them of the legality when these messages are sent. In some states it is considered child porn and your teen could be convicted of a crime. It is that serious of an issue.
Use your rights as a parent to control what information is sent and received. The porn industry now have apps to override protective apps against porn on your teen’s phone.
It’s not just on your phone. Check your teen’s on-line social sites like Instagram, Snap Chat, Pinger, Skype and more that can send pictures.
Get counseling for your teen!
Be pro-active and NEVER let your guard down. Pray for God’s covering over your child and to show you if something isn’t right. And ALWAYS keep the doors of communication open.