My kid is sexting, now what?
Your kids are using their phones for more than just sending text messages with thousands of emojis. Many kids are using their phones to sext and unfortunately many popular apps make that easier.
Sexting is when your child is sending a sexually explicit photograph, video or message via their cell phone.
Scary facts about sexting
- Many sext because they feel pressured
- Over half of those who have received a sext, shared it with someone
- Boys are more likely to send sexually suggestive messages, where girls are more likely to send semi-nude or nude photos
- Teens aren’t just sending semi-nude or nudes to people they know. Many have sent them to someone they’ve never met
- Most sexting takes place between boyfriend/girlfriend
The most scary fact of all. Sending or receiving sexually suggestive texts, videos or images under the age of 18 is considered child pornography and can result in criminal charges. If you do find any sort of nude images or sexually suggestive message on your child’s phone, take these steps immediately.
- Take possession of the device
- Report images to law enforcement
- Do not communicate or engage with anyone on the device
- Work with authorities on how to proceed.
For more information on what to do, read 5 things parens should do if they find nude images on their child’s devices
How are children using popular apps to send inappropriate image
Using this app, your child can share messages, images, and videos to other users. These images are then viewable for 10 seconds. Teens especially love this app because they believe that once the image disappears it’s gone for more. Not the case. The person on the receiving end can either screen capture the image or use a capturing app to keep the message forever. Because the messages disappear, it’s hard for parents to monitor what they’re children are sending/seeing.
While Snapchat has your children sending messages to those they know, Fling is the complete opposite. Using Fling your child sends a message to 50 random people around the world. Because the content on Fling is random, it increases the chance of your child receiving inappropriate images. Once a fling is has been sent, anyone receiving a message can then interact with the person who has sent the fling and that often leads to requests for inappropriate images (even if your child hasn’t sent any). Flings are deleted after 24 hours, so it can be hard for parents to monitor.
Kik is a very scary app. If it is on your children’s phone or devices, delete immediately! Kik is known for child exploitation with child predators targeting children—often getting children to send nudes or semi-nudes. A huge child porn community is active on the site and this child porn is shared freely because of very poor security and authentication.
With Periscope your children can watch/create live broadcasts called “scopes.” While most are using scopes to share news and events, many are using Periscope to stream sexual videos. Scopes don’t run into the same time restraints as other apps. During these live broadcasts people are able to interact in real-life. These scopes are kept for 24 hours. Your child can also be filmed without their knowledge or permission.