Social media has opened a can of worms as teens can interact with anyone, even with strangers- who are their age or even older. Young girls are particularly vulnerable and can easily find themselves manipulated by guys who ask them to send naked pictures of themselves. The thing is with girls, is that they’re growing up and their bodies are changing and developing. They’re starting to be interested in boys, usually older, and are often unsure of their attractiveness and popularity. Bring a boy into the picture who knows how to say the right things, like “You’re so pretty, you’re so cool, etc”, then after some time starts asking for photos, they fall into the trap of complying to their demands.
Prevent this from happening to your child
Talk to her about sexting
Make your daughter understand that sending explicit photos or text messages using technology like cell phones can be dangerous. Explain to her that if you are under the age of 18, it’s illegal to take explicit photos of yourself or anyone else’s under 18 and send them to someone else. It’s regarded as creation and distribution of child pornography. If photos of naked children under 18 are found on your cell phone, laptop or PC, you may be charged with possession of child pornography. If a child is charged and convicted of creation, distribution or possession of child pornography, they will pay a hefty fine. Although there is a separate child justice system, which takes into account the fact that this was a child with limited impulse control, the consequences could still be really serious.
Children are trusting, but people lie
Warn your daughter that a boy may promise to keep the pictures between himself and your daughter but boys like to brag about their prowess with girls because it increases their popularity. They may distribute the pictures to their friends to score points and who in turn may leak the pictures to others. Worse, if the girl breaks up with them, the boy may become spiteful because of the hurt and angry that he wants to get revenge. What better way to humiliate the girl by showing everyone the explicit photos she sent to him in confidence? The consequences to the girl and her family can be dire if these photos get out. It may take years for her to re-build her reputation. You need to teach your daughter that if a boy really likes her, he will respect her boundaries and not hound her to send risky photos.
Ensure your child keeps her phone locked and password protected
This prevents other people from accessing her personal info, including photos, if the phone is left lying around or gets lost or stolen.
Parents should be ‘friends’ with their children on social networks
It is advisable to be your child’s friend or follower on social media to keep an eye on the content your child posts and the comments they receive and from whom. Watch out for inappropriate posts and content but don’t over do it by commenting on every post- respect her space.
Check her phone
You should also check their cell phone from time to time and have access to their passwords. Explain to your child that your responsibility to keep them safe overrides their right to privacy.