Home > Teens > Teen Behavior and Discipline > Setting Rules for Teens > Teens and "Sexting": What You Need to Know About the New Trend
|

Teens and "Sexting": What You Need to Know About the New Trend

For Jesse Logan, an 18-year-old Ohio girl, sending cell phone pictures to her boyfriend was a natural part of their relationship. They were young and in love, and she trusted him with sexually provocative photos of herself. After Jesse and her boyfriend broke up, as teenagers do, he shared the pictures with classmates, who began harassing Jesse, calling her names and physically bullying her. Eventually, the abuse became too much. In August 2008, Jesse hanged herself.

Jesse's story is tragic, but more common than you might think. Teenagers are exchanging sexually explicit photos with increasing frequency, not only by email and social networking sites, but by phone. The practice is called "sexting," a portmanteau of "sex" and "texting." According to Cox Communications, nearly 20 percent of teens have sent, received, or forwarded a sexually explicit text or picture message, sometimes with dire consequences. Why is this happening? It starts with the technology.

The rise of do-it-all smart phones

Since the early days of the Internet, people have been able to take digital photos and to send and receive them across the network, but high cost, low quality, and limited bandwidth made such practices expensive and difficult. In recent years, an increase in computing power and a decrease in cost has changed that. Now, cheaply available technology lets users take high-fidelity snapshots and videos, and there's enough bandwidth to transmit them quickly over a wireless connection - with a device that fits in the palm of your hand.

Today's cell phones do it all: Web browsing, email, photo, and video. The advent of so-called "smart" phones, typified by the hugely popular Apple iPhone, has concentrated an astonishing amount of technology into small, handheld devices. Smart phones integrate all aspects of a teenager's social life, such as friends' phone numbers, social calendars, and even Facebook pages. It's not a stretch to suggest that such gadgets are now an integral part of many kids' daily lives.

For parents of teenagers, these phones have undeniable benefits. It's easier than ever before to stay in touch, whether by phone, email, or text message. Plus, teens who find themselves in uncomfortable situations have more options to call their parents for help. But there's a dark side, too. Teenagers often have difficulty with impulse control and delaying gratification; the power and simplicity of today's phones means that it's easier than ever to use technology unwisely, without considering the consequences.

|


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

thanksgiving crafts & recipes

Make this Turkey
Day fun for the
whole family with
these essentials.

GO

highlights

7 Home Remedies to Soothe Cold & Flu Symptoms
The AAP does not recommend giving over-the-counter cough and cold medicines to children under 4, so treating children's cold and flu symptoms naturally can be the best course of action. Read about some home remedies that might help.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

11 Awesome Thanksgiving Games & Activities for Families
Looking for fun Thanksgiving Day activities for the whole family? Check out 11 kid-friendly indoor and outdoor activities that will bring your family together in the spirit of the holiday.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!