Sexting is when sexual photos or videos are shared via mobiles or online posts. If your child has been involved in sexting or has been a victim, here are some things you could do to help them manage the situation.
It is not your fault
Today, time is very different from our childhood. Our children sometimes make mistakes that may result in having private information available for public fodder. This is not because we have raised them badly, but simply because the technology allows it.
Why did they sext?
Researcher shows that teens share images for many reasons, such as:
- To express developing sexuality, to impress or be liked and to keep up with what they think is the norm
- Most teenagers share these images within relationships or friendships and they don’t expect them to be shared with strangers.
How do I support them?
Your children may be bullied if others have viewed their image. They may have also had sexually inappropriate comments made about them by friends and strangers, including adults.
Your support could play a very important role in buffering the impact of bullying. Ensure that your children are connected to trusted friends and family online and offline. Stop them from reading offensive comments. Keep an eye on them and get others to do so as well. If you are worried or your child is vulnerable, seek professional support.
Minimising the spread of images
Once an image is shared online, they may end up on sites that are used for adult gratification. Act fast to help prevent this. You must contact the school if schoolmates are involved.
Help your teen identify where the images might be and send take-down requests to all sites.Send messages to all kids who may have received an image asking them to delete immediately. Ensure to block any people who make offensive comments about them and report them to the police if necessary.
What is the law?
It is a crime to take and share sexual images of people under 18.
People involved will get into trouble with the law if they have deliberately shared a photo or video of someone without their consent, especially if they meant to embarrass or humiliate them.
Remember the police would want to know how the image/video was made and where it might have been sent/posted. They will want to know who was involved and whether there was consent from all involved. Help your child put together a record of what happened and where images and videos might be.
Warning signs – don’t ignore them
- If your child’s behaviour changes at home and/or school you should talk to them. Examples of worrying changes include seeming less interested in things they used to like, not connecting with friends as they used to, seeming more withdrawn, appearing unhappy a lot of the time, changed eating and/or sleeping (more or less of either).
- If your child has particular vulnerabilities, be vigilant about their contacts offline and online. Help them join groups out of school where they can find friends and support. Talk to the school and make sure they are supported. Surround them friends and family with positive influence