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Hype, Buzzwords, and Permanence of “Sexting”

by Safe Eyes on August 28th, 2009 in Parents

Here is a blog post from our friends at Safe Eyes.

We love new words. In fact, “buzzword” was probably one of the first and most lasting buzzwords ever created.

Many believe that the media infatuation with sexting is merely repackaging an old phenomenon with a new buzzword. Kids have been playing doctor or “show-me yours-and-I’ll-show-you-mine” for a long time, a lot longer than things like cell-phones, the Internet, or even computers and phones have been around. So the comparisons, often brought up by those of us who were not born into the digital revolution, are somewhat valid.

Robin Raskin, a friend of ours on Facebook, posted a very thoughtful analysis of this trend on her blog, noting that…

“Every spring, parents get another wave of hysteria about the next peril they’ll need to face on the Internet. This season the hubbub revolves around ’sexting’.”

Robin goes on to write that parents should be more concerned about the root causes of sexting, and that issues regarding the teens self-esteem and impetuousness are likely at the heart of the problem. We couldn’t agree more.

However, it is exactly because most teens are impetuous that parents do need to be worried about the permanent consequences and repercussions of sexting. A picture distributed through a phone or through the Internet never goes away. As we posted before, adults live in a world filled with real and lasting consequences, and because of that, permanence is a familiar concept. Adults are much more likely to weigh long-term effects against immediate rewards. Teens simply do not think this way.

Children as young as ten are sexting. Becoming sexually curious—perhaps even flirtatious—at ten is perfectly natural and normal. Thinking about how your actions will affect you years, heck, even months in the future at ten is completely abnormal. This is precisely where teens and tweens need the maturity and wisdom of their parents. It’s not being hysterical, or invasive, to use what you as a parent know to help your child make smart decisions.

Here’s what we recommend:

* Ask your children what they think about the opposite sex at an early age (really, eight or nine)
* Listen to what they say and speak to their answers, not from a predetermined script
* Explain your family values in regards to sexuality calmly and frankly
* Explain the permanent repercussions actions such as sexting and other online activity can have
* Protect your kids with Safe Eyes on your home computers and Safe Eyes Mobile on their iPhone and iPod Touch

Our software is intended to supplement and augment parental guidance, not replace it, and we think a strong dose of both is needed to make children of the digital age safe and responsible.

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