If your child should receive a request for a nude pic, how do you think they would react? You’d be surprised how many young people would laugh and consider it a harmless, fun thing to do, perhaps a way to be included with the cool crowd, never thinking about the possible consequences.

I came across an eye-opening article, “Sexting 101: Someone Ask You For A Nude Pic? Send This Instead,” which summarized these statistics from surveys about sexting:

“At least 40% of today’s teens are involved in sending and receiving sexually suggestive messages through the smart devices that we’re all constantly glued to. About 22% of teen girls report sending semi-nude or nude pics, and 18% of boys have as well. And 17% of sexters share the messages they receive with another person, and 55% of those share them with multiple people.”

Do you have a tween or teen child? These statistics imply that 1 in 5 teens say they’ve sent nude pics of themselves. And roughly 1 in 5 of the recipients forwarded the pics to others, half of whom did the same thing. In other words, chances are the sexy selfie won’t remain a private, romantically exciting matter. Any of the people in possession of the nude pic could do something cruel with it, such as make it public, damaging your child’s reputation, or much worse. The article talks about serious legal consequences, which practically no teens are aware of.

Check out this true, tragic sexting story: “Sexting – Exciting, Dumb and Dangerous.” The article contains a sample dialogue between mother and daughter, the kind of talk every parent should have with their child. Remember what you didn’t know at that age. Hopefully they’re learning to use good judgment; but in the best case, mature judgment comes quite a bit later. Don’t leave it to chance.

My book, How Your Teen Can Grow a Smarter Brain, describes a number of ways a young person can improve judgment skills, and what you can do to encourage this. It’s worth a read.

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